Friday, December 3

The female Real Madrid is already looking to the Champions League | sports


Kenti Robles controls the ball against Lauren Hemp, during the Madrid-City first leg in Valdebebas.
Kenti Robles controls the ball against Lauren Hemp, during the Madrid-City first leg in Valdebebas.Rodrigo Jiménez / EFE

Things are going fast at Real Madrid for women. At the beginning of its third season, the team is already facing its first attempt to play the Champions League, an unavoidable Rubicon sooner or later for the growth of the project. This Wednesday, the second leg of the previous tie that gives access to the group stage (20.00, 1-1 in the first leg) will play against City. The women’s tournament, after the last reform, is not like the men’s one and only the champion of the Spanish League (Barcelona, ​​which is also the champion of the great European title) has a direct ticket. Madrid, second last year, and Levante, third, must pass the September revalidation to ascend to the first continental step (the frog will look at 18.00 against Lyon -the dethroned king- the comeback after the 1-2 in Valencia).

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In the first steps of the women’s Real Madrid in the highest category, the offices regretted that in some cases they had arrived late to the transfer market. The absorption procedures by the white club del Tacón in the middle of summer 2019 after paying about 400,000 euros left the feeling that certain footballers had escaped them. His first course was discreet, at times even traumatic (9-1 and 0-6 against Barça), and even briefly occupied the relegation places. But, after that forced takeoff, the ship began to straighten out.

When they have had the time they missed so much at the start, Madrid’s movements have been clear: accumulate national product and, to a large extent, young. Players who know the League, and who offer both immediate results and long lights. With a Barcelona in another dimension, untouchable in Spain and already triumphant in Europe, the merengue team has maneuvered to secure a second step as soon as possible that will place it before the entrance door to the Champions League.

The Champions League is presented as a strategic issue in Valdebebas, key to give another stretch. Entering the competition with the Real Madrid hook would act as a claim to attract more top-level international product, as well as higher income, and thus think about the next phase: looking Barcelona in the face. The project has risen quickly (second in its second year), but now it has the imperious leap to Europe. His rival at the first exchange rate, the City of the former blue Vicky Losada, is not a halt.

Still with the coach with whom he was promoted to First under the name of Tacón, David Aznar, the meringues were made this summer with ammunition up: they reached the second top scorer of last season (Esther González, 29 goals with Levante, two by Jenni Hermoso); international striker Nahikari, who after years of intrigue left its Real Sociedad natal (104 so many there); winger Athenea del Castillo and midfielder Claudia Zornoza, among other acquisitions.

Jakobsson’s departure

A year earlier he had entrenched the defense, his black hole until then, with the goalkeeper Misa (Zamora trophy last year), and the defenders Kenti Robles, Ivana Andrés and Corredera. And three key young men in the middle and attack completed the bet: Teresa Abelleira, Maite Oroz and Marta Cardona (14 goals the previous season).

These last two, however, were not in the first leg against City due to injury and neither will they in Manchester, two sensitive losses that the team also suffered on Sunday against Levante (4-0). The coach does recover Asllani (16 goals) after overcoming the coronavirus. The Swede, along with the French Kaci (from Atlético) and her compatriot Jakobsson, became the pillars on which this Madrid began to be built. An international start that was soon concretized with national players.

Jakobsson, yes, is no longer in Valdebebas. According to her, against her will. “My intention was to stay,” he commented. His representative went further. “The same thing happened to Sergio Ramos. We received an offer from the club, the next day they told us that it was not valid and they did not propose another (reduced) offer. We could never negotiate. We only had the opportunity to say yes or no, “he explained to As the footballer’s agent, today at Bayern.

Jakobsson and Asllani, third in the 2019 World Cup and candidates for the Ballon d’Or that year, were the first big bets of that new Real Madrid, now very Spanishized. At first, as recognized by coach David Aznar in the documentary A real dream, everything was more complicated. “When the stars come and you see players taking selfies with them in the locker room, you think: ‘huff, here’s work.” Two seasons later, that booth looks to the Champions League.

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