Real’s new galacticos get down to business

Real Madrid’s second galactico era got under way on Friday as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema led football’s most...

Written by Associated Press | Madrid | Published:July 11, 2009 1:02 am

Real Madrid’s second galactico era got under way on Friday as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema led football’s most expensive squad through their first pre-season practice. New coach Manuel Pellegrini spoke to the team briefly ahead of a training session that included most of Madrid’s 29 players except Brazil playmaker Kaka,defenders Sergio Ramos and Raul Albiol,goalkeeper Iker Casillas and midfielder Daniel Parejo.

Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and midfielder Mahamadou Diarra trained for the first time after missing most of last season to knee injuries. In all,five new players trained at Valdebebas after Madrid exercised their option to buy striker Alvaro Negredo back from Almeria and ended Ezequiel Garay’s loan spell with Racing Santander.

‘Important era’

“A new project has started and if there’s something that has to stand out in the first days it will be excitement,” sporting director Miguel Pardeza said. “An important era is starting for everyone,players and coaches,and they are all very motivated.”

Madrid president Florentino Perez has spent euro209 million to recruit Ronaldo,Kaka,Benzema and Albiol in hopes of returning Madrid to their standing as the world’s biggest club. Last season,Madrid lost their domestic title and endured a difficult campaign. Main rivals Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win three trophies in a season following league,domestic cup and Champions League triumphs,while former president Ramon Calderon resigned in January following a vote-rigging scandal.

Madrid will travel to Dublin on Monday for a 10-day training camp that will see them play Shamrock Rovers on July 20. After that,they return to Spain to play in the Peace Cup before a trip to North America for matches against Toronto FC on July 7 and DC United two days later.

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