Football

Benitez dismisses Real goal concern

SP GIJON v REAL MADRID (Tomorrow, 2.30am)

Rafael Benitez believes Real Madrid will ''end the debate'' about their supposed goalscoring problems when they take on promoted Sporting Gijon at El Molinon.
Real's much-vaunted attack drew blanks in four of their eight pre-season friendlies and only managed to score twice against Galatasaray in Tuesday's Trofeo Bernabeu, despite creating a host of chances.For a side that netted a league-best 118 goals in 38 Primera Division matches last season, that form could be a concern heading into the new La Liga season, but Benitez is not panicking.

The Spaniard, who replaced Carlo Ancelotti at the helm this summer, said: ''We had 22 shots against Galatasaray and I am convinced that will bring us goals.

''I am more concerned about closing down the opponents when they try to bring the ball out of defence and counterattack. We will try to score to put an end to this debate.'' Los Blancos are coming off a disappointing year, one that saw them finish runnersto Barcelona in the Spanish title race, while also losing to Juventus in the semi-finals of the Champions League. If Real are to win their first La Liga title since the 2011-12 campaign, they will need Cristiano Ronaldo to deliver again up front.

Ronaldo begins his seventh campaign with the club and will do so after one of his finest ever seasons, one in which he scored 61 goals in all competitions - his best numbers at Real since his arrival from Manchester United. Ronaldo netted 48 goals in 35 league games and was the top scorer in La Liga last term for the third time in his career.

Real have made five summer signings with the latest arrival being Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who joined from Inter Milan in a 30-million-euro deal this week and could feature against Sporting.

Benitez also has the boost of his two defenders, new captain Sergio Ramos and Portuguese star Pepe, signing contract extensions in recent days.

 

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