Real Madrid travel to Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano for the first time ever on Saturday for the 161st league version of the Madrid Derby. While the setting will be new, the stakes remain unchanged, although the pressure emanating in this weekend’s fixture will be one of desperation rather than one fueled by a sense of forthcoming glory.
Brazilian legend Ronaldo is hands down one of the best forwards ever to have played the beautiful game. Some argue had it not been for numerous unfortunate injuries, “The Phenomenon” would have been the best ever in world football.
Ronaldo started out playing for Cruzeiro in Brazil. It wasn’t long before he caught the eye of mayor European clubs. At only 17, he was signed by Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.
Prior to becoming one of the “Galácticos”, Ronaldo played for Barcelona in 1996-1997, when he was La Liga top scorer with 34 goals.
With Karim Benzema recovering from a hamstring injury, Gareth Bale resting due to a hamstring complaint of his own and Cristiano Ronaldo increasing his La Liga tally to 23 shots without a goal, Real Madrid relied on Isco’s best performance of the season to defeat Espanyol 2-0 on Sunday and stay within seven points of early pacesetters Barcelona.
The summer of 2000 saw the likes of England’s David Beckham and Steven Gerrard, France’s Zinedine Zidane and David Trezeguet and the Netherlands’ Patrick Kluivert all converge for the year’s marquee footballing event: UEFA Euro 2000.
Zinedine Zidane is now as famous a manager for Real Madrid as he was a player for the club and the France National Team. He is also infamous for ending his international career with a headbutt on Italy's Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final.
It has been over a decade since that incident, but it's clear it still weighs on Zidane's mind in terms of both what it means for his legacy and the example it sets for young fans. Of course, this is to be expected when you ram your head into another man's solar plexus with a few million people watching.
It's safe to say that Zinedine Zidane is aging remarkably well. The 45-year-old quickly transitioned from a Champions League winning player to a Champions League winning coach, and he looks as if he hasn’t aged a day in-between. He's got the kind of sideline presence that'll make your mom stop and stare at the television before saying something about how Americans are sure as s**t a lot fatter than Europeans.