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Friday, 10 July 2009 20:06

Ze Castro “privileged” as Ronaldo set to debut against Deportivo

Galicians to travel to capital

All eyes were on Real Madrid’s opening day fixture with Deportivo today as the 2009/10 Spanish Liga schedule was announced, pitting Portuguese internationals Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo against former Academica stopper Ze Castro.

Real have been Europe’s heaviest spenders during the close season, with Ronaldo’s world record 94m-euro deal from Manchester United included in a spree which also saw Kaka and Karim Benzema head to the Bernabeu.

The focus of the outlay has been on restoring the capital club’s dominance in Spain, and the first competitive test for the new-look Merengues will be a home clash with Deportivo La Coruna, with 26-year-old defender Ze Castro likely to be in the travelling party.

“It is a great privilege to be the first opponents of a team that has been reinforced with some of the best players in the world, in particular Cristiano Ronaldo,” Ze Castro told the Galician club’s website. “It will be a great spectacle. We will give it everything.”

Many neutrals will have quickly identified the first meeting between Real and defending champions Barcelona, which takes place at the Camp Nou on November 29, with the return match in the capital on April 11 next spring.

For Depor, who finished 7th last year, it is a tough start to a campaign in which the Galicians hope to qualify for European competition. “It will be difficult, but that’s what we have in mind,” stated Ze Castro, who signed a permanent deal at the Riazor this summer after spending last year on loan from Atletico Madrid.

La Liga week 1 fixtures (30/31 August)

Valencia - Sevilla
Real Madrid - Deportivo La Coruna
Barcelona - Sp. Gijón
Málaga - Atlético Madrid
Mallorca - Xerez
Racing Santander - Getafe
Osasuna - Villarreal
Zaragoza - Tenerife
At. Bilbao - Espanyol
Almería - Valladolid

By Sean Gillen

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