Real Madrid 0-0 Real Betis: Gareth Bale’s Bernabeu career ends in ignominy after winger fails to make the bench in season finale as LaLiga title winners draw a blank before the Champions League final against Liverpool
- LaLiga champion and Spanish Cup winners gave each other a guard of honor
- Carlo Ancelotti fielded his first-choice team, led by top scorer Karim Benzema
- But Gareth Bale, who is out of contract in the summer, failed to make the bench
Real Madrid drew a blank in their penultimate game of the season but no one in the Santiago Bernabeu seemed to care about the 0-0 result with Betis as they sent the players off with an ovation and said goodbye to Marcelo who was almost certainly playing his last game for the club.
When the final whistle blew Marcelo and 40-year-old Joaquin, playing his 600th game in La Liga, both bowed down to each other in the center circle.
The latter wants another season in La Liga, the former wearing the captain’s armband, has probably played his last game in Spain having finished his contract at Real Madrid.
Real Madrid played their strongest line-up featuring top scorer Karim Benzema
Carlo Ancelotti joined his players in the middle of the pitch at the end of the game. He has made little secret of the fact that he planned to play his Champions League final team in the last game of the domestic season.
If he stays true to that it will be the Brazilian Rodrygo in attack alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius, with just three midfielders – Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric – and no Fede Valverde.
With David Alaba still out injured it was Nacho alongside Eder Militao and that will be the pairing if the Austrian does not recover. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy completed the team.
It was the French full-back who created the first chance with a cross that Benzema ran on to but saw his shot blocked.
LaLiga champion and Spanish Cup winners gave each other a guard of honor before kick off
For Betis Guido Rodriguez had a deflected shot saved by Thibaut Courtois and Juanmi headed another chance over. Willian Jose also went close to Manuel Pellegrini’s team who were playing for nothing more than finishing the season well – a campaign in which they have won the cup and narrowly missed out on a Champions League place.
Madrid had the first chance of the second half with Benzema forcing another save from Rui Silva, connecting from Carvajal’s cross. Rodrygo sent the ball wide from the rebound.
Ancelotti had taken Kroos and Casemiro off at the break to bring on Eduardo Camavinga and Valverde. On the hour Marcelo was warming up too and the Bernabeu stood and applauded as one.
Gareth Bale should be enjoying the same experiences. The winner of four Champions Leagues – an important player in three of the finals – was not even in the squad, long having fallen out with the club he has played for since 2013.
Both sides had chances in a lively but far from full-blooded affair on Friday night
With 20 minutes left Marcelo came on to huge applause and Joaquin came on to face him. He was applauded on to the pitch by Madrid supporters. It was that sort of night. The game had begun with Betis giving Real Madrid a guard of honor on to the pitch for winning the league, and Madrid players then giving Betis the same treatment for winning the cup.
It was exhibition stuff in the last 10 minutes with Vinicius playing one pass with his back for Benzema who curled his shot wide. Benzema clipped the bar with six minutes left but there was no 45th goal in his 44th game of the season. At the other end Joaquin hooked the ball over from six-yards out.
Madrid players now have two days off before returning to training on Monday. Thursday afternoon they arrive in Paris for the biggest game of their season. ‘We have done a little bit more intense work this week in training,’ said Courtois at the end of the game. ‘We will be ready come Saturday.’
Carlo Ancelotti and his players received a standing ovation from the fans at the final whistle