Qualcomm Stadium is the stage and Spanish giants Real Madrid and popular Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara the protagonists as the two teams collide on Wednesday (11 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes) in San Diego in the Herbalife World Football Challenge.
For Real Madrid, the match against Guadalajara will be the second in both the WFC and their preseason, following a 4-1 defeat of the LA Galaxy on Saturday. Their final match of their US tour is against the Philadelphia Union.
Chivas, meanwhile, end their preseason with their first match of the World Football Challenge. Their turnaround will be quick, though, as they kick off the Apertura 2011 campaign against Atlante on July 23.
The Rojiblancos will be looking to tie up all loose ends and fine-tune things in their final preseason match against Real Madrid, as they’ve gone 0-3-3 in six encounters.
Luckily for manager José Luis Real, a contingent of starting players and up-and-coming talent that was either away on Copa América duty with Mexico or, in the case of the U-17 internationals on the squad, winning the World Cup, have all returned and add some much needed strength and depth to the side.
“We know there are no points on the line in preseason, but we want to win all the games, not go out to lose them, not even to tie them,” Real said following a 2-0 loss to Querétaro on Saturday. “We’ve got to improve.”
In their first World Football Challenge match on Saturday, los Merengues thoroughly overpowered the LA Galaxy en route to a 4-1 win.
After winning just one trophy last year — Real took home the Copa del Rey but ended runners-up in La Liga and fell in the semifinals of the Champions League — Real Madrid manager José Mourinho is looking to sound-proof his team to make a run for all three titles in the upcoming season.
"To win a championship comes down to little details," Mourinho said following the win against LA. "We were close in many ways last season, but it's those little details we have to get right.”
The second step in the right direction could be taken with a win over Guadalajara.
CD Guadalajara: Héctor Reynoso
After helping Mexico to a Gold Cup win, Chivas' defensive stalwart will have the tough task of helping stop Real Madrid’s potent attack. Though strong in the air, it’s not uncommon to see him get blown on in man-to-man situations. He’ll also have to stay focused as he can sometimes lose concentration and commit costly errors.
Real Madrid: Kaká
The 2010-11 season wasn’t very kind for the midfield maestro. Shortly after returning from an eight-month layoff, Kaká was sidelined with a thigh injury. The knocks not only limited the former FIFA World Player of the Year's playing time but hampered his play. This season, the Brazil international will look to get back on track, and Real Madrid could use his vision and incisive passing — like his assist vs. the LA Galaxy — to defeat Guadalajara.