MADRID, March 16 (Reuters) - Raul will lead the Real Madrid line
without Ronaldo's backing against Real Zaragoza in the King's
Cup final on Wednesday.
While Raul has shaken off an ankle problem, leading scorer
Ronaldo is still recovering from a thigh strain and will miss
the encounter at the Montjuic Olympic stadium in Barcelona.
The Cup is the one title that has eluded Real since
Florentino Perez took over as president four years ago. Indeed,
they have not won the trophy since 1993, when they beat the same
"There is a special desire to win the Cup this time," David
Beckham told a news conference on Monday.
Beckham was in the side that won the Spanish Supercup at the
start of the season but this will be his first chance to win a
major trophy since joining Real.
Real, however, while leading the Primera Liga and in the
Champions League quarter-finals, have yet to beat lowly Zaragoza
The teams drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu at the weekend in a league
game billed as the Cup dress rehearsal but the encounter was
overshadowed by the Madrid train bombings.
"The events that surrounded the game meant that it wasn't an
enjoyable game," said Beckham. "But I 'm sure the Cup final will
be very different."
Cesar take over in goal from first-choice keeper Iker
Casillas in the other change in Real's starting line-up for
Wednesday (kickoff 2000 GMT).
Cesar has played throughout the Cup competition and coach
Carlos Queiroz is set to keep faith with his highly rated
Zaragoza, their relegation worries beginning to ease after
moving up to 15th in the 20-team league, are quietly confident
of springing a surprise.
"They haven't been able to beat us in either of the two
league games we have played this season," says midfielder David
Pirri. "We have to be optimistic about the final."
Traditionally Zaragoza have done well in the Cup, their last
victory coming three years ago when they beat Celta Vigo 3-1 in
The team looks to have turned the corner since the
appointment of Victor Munoz as coach in January and the
mid-season recruitment of former Barcelona and Real Madrid
striker Dani and former Atletico Madrid midfielder Jose Maria
Centre-back Gabriel Milito has been outstanding and the
Argentine international will have a point to prove against a
club that decided against signing him at the start of the season
because of worries over an old knee injury.