Thirteen. Unlucky for some, they say.
Well, thirteen months after he completed a £13m+ move from Newcastle United to Real Madrid, Jonathan Woodgate looks set to make his long-awaited debut for the Spanish club tonight, and hopes that his, and his team’s, recent run of bad luck will finally come to an end.
“I’m probably the hungriest man ever to play football,”, said the 25-year-old year old, who has spent the last 17 months sidelined because of injury.
“I’ve won nothing in my career and I just want to get back to playing. The club paid alot of money for me, and I just want to give something back to them – it’s the least I can do.”
Owing to a suspension to Sergio Ramos, Woodgate will probably partner Ivan Helguerra in the centre of what has, in recent weeks, been an incredibly porous Real defence.
Madrid go into tonight’s game against Athletic Bilbao having lost their last three games in all competitions, conceding seven goals in the process.
After incurring much criticism, Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo looks set to scrap his much maligned ‘magic square’ formation, and revert to a more orthodox 4-4-2.
In the absence of the suspended Julio Baptista, Thomas Graveson will start in central midfield alongside Pablo Garcia, with Beckham and Robinho occupying the right and left flanks respectively. Up front, Raul will resume his strike partnership with Ronaldo.
Athletic are unlikely to change the starting XI that drew 1-1 with Getafe at the weekend. Javi Cassas does, however, remains a doubt, after injuring his left ankle in training last week.