Xabi Alonso criticises timing of Spain international

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has raised concerns about how close Spain‘s friendly with Puerto Pico is to the start of the new domestic season.

The friendly match, to be played on Tuesday, comes just over a week before Real Madrid take on rivals Barcelona in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana. However, despite a disjointed pre-season, Alonso feels Madrid are well prepared for the start of a new campaign.

“There’s a little way to go, but the base is there and the pieces have come together,” Alonso told AS. “It’s been a short pre-season because we haven’t had much time and now we’re heading off with the national team and we’ll be away for a few days, but we’re used to it. It isn’t anything new and we hope to start the year well.”

The Spain midfielder warned that his club-mates cannot afford to be lacklustre at the outset of the domestic campaign.

“We have to be ready because they are matches that require you to give 100% and we have to be in peak form right from the start,” he explained. “We can’t think that it’s going to be easy. We know that all Liga matches are very important and the first more so.

“In addition, the Supercopa is the first title and we want to win it. It is important because you’re playing for a trophy, but I don’t think it offers any advantage for the future.”

Barcelona host Real Madrid in the first leg of the Super Cup on August 22, with the second leg at the Bernabeu a week later.

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