Real Madrid dazzles in 'Match for Peace'

Spanish champion turns on the style against mixed team of Israeli, Palestinian players.

real madrid peace 298 88 (photo credit: AP)
real madrid peace 298 88
(photo credit: AP)
Real Madrid promoted peace in entertaining fashion on Tuesday night, defeating a mixed Israeli-Palestinian team 8-0 in the "Match for Peace" at National Stadium in Ramat Gan. Madrid midfielder Guti treated the 30,000 fans in Ramat Gan to a clinical display of finishing, scoring a superb hatrick in 16 first -half minutes and adding a fourth in the second half. Guti gave the Spanish champion the lead in the 29th minute with a powerful shot from the edge of the area after some good build up play by Raul. Eight minutes later goalkeeper Dudu Awat was helpless against Guti's left footed bullet, parrying the ball into his own net. The Spanish midfielder scored his third goal of the match on the stroke of halftime, easily burying the ball from the center of the box into the bottom left corner of Awat's goal. In the 48th minute, Guti turned provider, setting up Raul, who slotted the ball past the keeper from just outside the area. Real scored its fifth of the match 14 minutes later, with Alvaro Negredo making the most of substitute keeper Shavit Elimelech's blunder and turning the ball into the net. Just two minutes later Guti got his fourth, beating Elimelech with ease from 10 meters out. In the 74th minute, substitute Ruben de la Red scored his side's seventh, effortlessly rounding the keeper. All the proceeds from the match, which was organized by the Peres Center for Peace, will support the center's Twinned Peace Sport Schools program, which caters to Palestinian and Israeli youth from disadvantaged and peripheral communities. A minute before the final whistle Negredo scored his second of the match and his team's last. Earlier in the day, president-elect Shimon Peres held a joint press conference with Real president Ramon Calderon, club captain Raul, midfielder Guti and Israel international Abas Suan. Peres, who began by congratulating Madrid on its 30th league title, said that the Spanish giants are not just champions of the field, but also "champions of peace." "I don't know who will win the match, but I know peace will win," Peres said. "A football player carries not only the ball, but a message as well. He introduces a spirit of competition, and teaches us that you can play together without discrimination." The Real squad, which arrived early Tuesday afternoon, only spent a total of 12 hours in Israel. "We are very happy to be here and to do whatever we can so the children will have a better future, because they deserve it," Raul said. "Even though we're tired, we hope to play a good match, as you would expect from the Spanish league champion." Club president Calderon revealed in the press conference that it was his idea to play the match in Ramat Gan. Israel rather than in Madrid, Spain. "We proposed to come to Israel and play here on your field," he said. "We are convinced our actions have an effect on people. Real Madrid is, above all, a sport organization, but its history allows it to participate in other fields and not just sports. This is the reason the club doesn't close its eyes to the social realities that surround us. We wanted to come here and play this match where the problem is. Everybody is aware of what unfortunately is happening in the world, and that is the reason we wanted to come and practically demanded to come. We are very happy to be here and help the people and the children so in the future they can play in peace." Suan, who played in the mixed Israeli-Palestinian team for a fourth straight year, was proud to be part of the event once again. "Never has a team of the magnitude of Real Madrid come to Israel and the organizers deserve credit for their efforts," Suan said. "We should unite and work together to promote peace in our country, the Middle East and the entire world."