Football: Real Madrid boss Benitez criticises state of MCG pitch ahead of friendly match

The new head-coach of Real Madrid football team, Rafael Benitez looks on during a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on June 3, 2015.
The new head-coach of Real Madrid football team, Rafael Benitez looks on during a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on June 3, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE - Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez was not in the most diplomatic of moods on Friday when he expressed his unhappiness about the Melbourne Cricket Ground surface ahead of a friendly match with AS Roma.

The Spanish football giants are in Australia for the International Champions Cup (ICC), and kick off the tournament on Saturday against the Italian Serie A side.

Benitez was critical of the state of the pitch after his team performed a light training session at the MCG in front of over 10,000 fans.

"Today, I have to say the pitch was not the best," he told the media after training. "We have to be aware of that. We have an important match, so hopefully the players can do their best for the game. It will not be easy."

According to Australian media, the MCG turf had been battered after a week of rain following 15 rounds of the Australian Football League season. And with the AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and Brisbane Lions coming up on Sunday, the groundsmen could yet have their work cut out for them.

The three-match ICC series will see Roma take on Manchester City on July 21, followed by Real against City three days later.