Written by 10:23 Sports

Betis keep Real Madrid at bay in Kroos' farewell to the Bernabeu

Real Madrid bid farewell to Toni Kroos with an emotional tribute to the legendary midfielder in a 0-0 draw with Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.

Carlo Ancelotti paid his counterpart Manuel Pellegrini the full respect of fielding his strongest XI with a few exceptions, as they looked to extend their unbeaten record to 32 games in La Liga.

Playing his 465th and final LaLiga game for the club before retiring from football after Euro 2024 this summer, Kroos was given a starting spot and a hero’s welcome at the Santiago Bernabeu as they paid tribute to the club icon.

It was Vinicius Junior who was causing the early problems, setting up Dani Carvajal with a cross into the box only for the full-back to blaze over. Then the Brazilian had his own chance to open the scoring, but goalkeeper Fran Vietes pushed the ball away.

Javier LiznEFE

Vietes was proving to be a decent deputy in goal after he denied Vini Jr, who had met Rodrygo’s cross with a neat flick at the front post.

Hector Bellerin should have put Betis in front on 37 minutes when he ran into the box unmarked but somehow headed wide of the target. Betis didn’t stop there, and the visitors thought they had taken the lead through Johnny Cardoso after a glaring error from Thibaut Courtois, who parried Miranda’s delivery straight to his feet.

However, the goal was ruled out following a long VAR check after Marc Roca was adjudged to have impeded a defender when coming back from an offside position.

An evening of goodbyes for Real Madrid

There was work to do for the LaLiga leaders at the break if they were to secure a morale-boosting win before their Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund on June 1.

Javier LiznEFE

But Betis started off on the front foot and it took a smart stop from Courtois to divert Ayoze Perez’s deflected strike over the bar. The Belgian then made an even better save to prevent Miranda from finding the bottom corner.

Another part of Kroos’ leaving party saw Kepa Arrizabalaga replace Courtois for what would be the final appearance of his loan spell, before the Spain goalkeeper returns to Chelsea in the summer.

Ancelotti also sent on Luka Modric for a final reunion with his long-time midfield partner Kroos for the remaining 15 minutes.

Betis substitute Ez Abde nearly stole all three points minutes after coming on, but the winger’s effort was saved well by Arrizabalaga, who would have been desperate for a clean sheet.

Kroos would get the chance to make a tearful goodbye on 89 minutes as he made way for Dani Ceballos. But despite their late efforts, Real Madrid couldn’t find a goal to end his 11-year career in the Spanish capital with a victory.


Last modified: 30 May 2024