Up Close with Galacticos

200 lucky fans watch Real Madrid train at UCLA

Real Madrid open training session

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora

The UCLA campus played
host to Real Madrid over the past week as the Spanish club has been busy training
for its international friendly against the Galaxy at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.  Soccer fans from all over Los Angeles have been eager to catch a
glimpse of Real Madrid and its collection of international stars such as
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, and Gonzalo Higuain since the game was announced on June
29.  However, training sessions have been
closed to the public until yesterday when 200 Galaxy fans were granted exclusive
access to Real Madrid’s afternoon training session and soaked in all the action
from a shaded grandstand at midfield.

GALLERY: Real Madrid Open Training Session

“It was exciting, just
to have Cristiano Ronaldo and all of these famous players here, it was great.  It’s a great feeling to be here and see them
this close,” said Galaxy season ticket holder Sergio Ochoa after the event. 

Fans were also able to
take photos with players after the training session and grab autographs as well
and the event certainly marked another exciting day for Galaxy fans that have
seen top European clubs AC Milan and FC Barcelona play against the Galaxy over
the past two seasons.

While the training
session allowed Galaxy fans to see Real Madrid up close, the press conference
that followed gave local and international media members a chance to catch up
with Real Madrid captain, goalkeeper Iker Casillas.  Casillas was a critical part of Spain’s 2010 FIFA World Cup squad and arrived in
Los Angeles a day early to take part in the training
session before the team departs today for San
Francisco. 

When asked about his
thoughts on MLS, Casillas responded through a translator that “MLS is a very,
very good league.  Obviously, people like
Rafa Marquez and Thierry Henry are here, so something must be great about this
league.”  Casillas went on to speak about
Real Madrid and their upcoming season in La Liga but also made sure to speak
about the Galaxy and the match on Saturday. “Landon Donovan is, no doubt, a
very good player [and] I expect when we play them on Saturday, we will have a
great match.”   

Casillas and the rest
of the Real Madrid squad are just beginning to train for their upcoming season but
holding an exclusive training session for Galaxy fans gave them a chance to see
just how excited Los Angeles-area soccer fans are about Real Madrid and
Saturday’s game. 

Galaxy season ticket
holder Adam Salguero captured the excitement of the afternoon training session best
by stating, “I don’t have words for it because I’m a Real Madrid fan too.  I can’t wait for Saturday!”  

The game, presented by
Pechanga Resort and Casino, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. 

For more information about this game or to purchase tickets, please
contact the Galaxy by calling 1-877-3GALAXY (342-5299) or visit www.lagalaxy.com/realmadridtickets.