Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Features

Mocked by Mourinho, Eibar’s Leon now primed to topple Madrid

Real Madrid’s Isco (R) fights for the ball with Eibar’s midfielder Pedro Leon during their Spanish La Liga match in Madrid, in October 2016 © AFP/File / Javier Soriano

Madrid, Spain, Mar 3 – Pedro Leon was mocked by Jose Mourinho for not being Zinedine Zidane when at Real Madrid. Now the in-form Eibar winger could deal a huge blow to Zidane’s hopes of landing the La Liga title.

After Gareth Bale lost his head and Madrid their La Liga lead in a 3-3 draw with Las Palmas on Wednesday, an uncomfortable trip to Eibar’s 6,200-capacity Ipurua stadium on Saturday was probably the last thing on their wish list.

“Whenever I came here as a visiting player I knew that Ipurua was a difficult place to come given how the fans and the team get on top of you,” Leon told reporters on Thursday.

“Let’s hope that’s how things go on Saturday and that they don’t feel comfortable here.”

Zidane’s men will be confronted by an Eibar side launching the most unlikely challenge for a place in Europe next season.

Leon’s ninth goal of the season deep into stoppage time salvaged a 2-2 draw for Eibar at Real Sociedad on Tuesday to keep the tiny Basque club with the second lowest budget in La Liga in seventh, just three points off a Europa League place.

“We have been very consistent all year,” added 30-year-old Leon. “We are having a great season and hopefully we don’t drop off between now and the end of the campaign.”

Madrid have already suffered at the hands of Eibar this season in a 1-1 draw at Real’s Santiago Bernabeu in October.

It was the first point and first goal Eibar had scored against Real since being promoted to the Spanish top flight for the first time in 2014.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

– Belittled by Mourinho –

Gareth Bale (L) received the first red card of his Real career in midweek as Madrid fell a point behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga table © AFP/File / Javier Soriano

Despite Madrid’s colossal 631.3 million euro ($665 million) budget dwarfing Eibar’s 43 million euros, Leon believes his side can prove David to Real’s Goliath and beat the 11-time European champions for the first time.

“They have weapons at their disposal which are beyond us with our budget, but in these games you forget all about that. It’s really special when you beat such an outstanding side.”

Eibar may also be catching Madrid at the right time.

Bale will be suspended after the first red card of his Real career in midweek as Madrid fell a point behind Barcelona at the top of the table.

Madrid battled back from 3-1 down with 10 men thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s double.

However, they have now conceded seven times in their last three outings and Zidane recognised his side must improve on their first-half displays to avoid always needing to bail themselves out late on.

Leon knows all about the demands of being a Madrid player after he was ostracised by Mourinho during his one season at the Bernabeu in 2010/11.

“You talk of Pedro Leon as if he was Zidane or Maradona or di Stefano. He was playing for Getafe two days ago,” then-Real boss Mourinho angrily responded when pressed on Leon’s lack of first-team opportunities.

Leon expects a reaction from Madrid’s Galacticos.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“We must recognise that they’re the favourites because they’re one of the best sides in the world,” he said.

“We know that for Madrid only winning is acceptable, and even more so at home.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) wasn’t a good day for them, but we know that Madrid on a bad day can still easily beat you. They will come here to take the three points.”

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday

Real Betis v Real Sociedad (1945)

Saturday

Leganes v Granada (1200), Eibar v Real Madrid (1515), Villarreal v Espanyol (1730), Barcelona v Celta Vigo (1945)

Sunday

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Sporting Gijon v Deportivo la Coruna (1100), Atletico Madrid v Valencia (1515), Las Palmas v Osasuna (1730), Athletic Bilbao v Malaga (1945)

Monday

Alaves v Sevilla (1945)

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

Features

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Kakamega High School ‘Green Commandos’ have produced a plethora of talent over the past decades in Kenyan football...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved