Real Madrid’s penultimate game before the Champions League final against Liverpool finished in a goalless draw on Friday against Real Betis.
Carlo Ancelotti fielded a quality squad in Madrid’s last La Liga game of the season, but with the championship already secured and the final in Paris just around the corner, neither club wanted to overexert themselves.
seasoned left-back Marcelo may have played his last game for Real Madrid, while Ancelotti emphasized that no decision on the player’s future had been taken.
“He’ll still be one of our captains in Paris,” claimed the Italian boss. “If he does depart, he will be remembered as one of the top full-backs in the world.”
Marcelo was introduced to a standing ovation in the second half and was handed the captain’s armband by Karim Benzema, who played the whole 90 minutes.
Gareth Bale, who was once again missing from the team, received no such applause. The Welsh striker has been suffering from a back ailment in recent weeks, and the absence of a proper farewell is only the latest low point in his Madrid career.
In 2021-22, the 32-year-old appeared in seven club games for a total of 290 minutes and scored one goal.
“He couldn’t be on the bench,” Ancelotti said. “He wanted to say farewell to the supporters, but he has one more opportunity because I believe Bale will be OK for the final.”
In addition to Marcelo, there was praise for Isco, who is also out of contract at the end of June, and for Real Betis’ Joaquin, who came in in the second half for his 600th La Liga match.
Ancelotti selected a solid lineup that might start against Liverpool, while David Alaba is still out injured, meaning he will play his first game in a little over a month next Saturday if the Austrian is pushed back in.
Both sides coasted through the first half, with neither side playing with enough passion or accuracy to force errors or produce clear opportunities.
Toni Kroos and Casemiro both sent long shots wide, while Betis had the finest chance, a fast counter-attack leaving them three against two on the break. But, when Nabil Fekir was free, Sergio Canales made the poor pass, and Real Madrid escaped uninjured.
There were times when Madrid’s sluggishness bordered on sloppiness, with Casemiro infuriating fans and colleagues alike when he hurried a clearing and then skewed a reckless attempt from near to the halfway line.
Early in the second half, Benzema got his first genuine chance, connecting effectively with Dani Carvajal’s cross, but his shot went straight at Betis goalkeeper Rui Silva. With seven minutes remaining, the Frenchman almost won it after chesting down Rodrygo’s pass in.
Marcelo, Isco, and Joaquin all came in in the 86th minute, and Joaquin should have scored. Cristiano Tello’s cross to the back post was wonderfully sent back to the striker, but he missed the target from eight yards out.
Real Madrid have a whole week to prepare for the Champions Regular final after finishing the league season with 86 points from 38 games.
Real Betis sit fifth in the rankings with 65 points, but Real Sociedad may catch up if they beat Atletico Madrid at home on Sunday.