Top 6 bonkers pre-season friendly match-ups – including Real Madrid and Plymouth

Who doesn't love a crazy pre-season friendly? From national teams squaring off with club sides to non-league minnows facing European giants: pre-season has it all.

And with pre-season coming to a close and the regular season on the horizon, there's no better time than the present to have a look at six absolutely bonkers pre-season friendlies that did indeed happen.

On Wednesday night, Real Betis took on Marseille in, checks notes, Chesterfield – and even that nugget isn't quite crazy enough to make our list. So without any further ado, here are six of the craziest pre-season friendlies.

Deportivo La Coruna v Pontypridd Town

Deportivo La Coruna were once a European superpower, at the turn of the millennium they won La Liga, and they went deep into the Champions League a couple of years later.

But those days are long gone for the side from Galicia, and in 2015 they even welcomed third-tier Welsh side Pontypridd Town to Spain for a friendly.

Okay, so it was Deportivo's second team, and were battered 4-0, but it was quite the day out for the Welsh side.

What's the strangest pre-season friendly you've watched? Let us know in the comments section

Bamber Bridge vs Czech Republic

Euro 1996, when football almost came home, that summer lives long in the memories of English football fans, perhaps none more so than supporters of English minnows Bamber Bridge.

As a warm-up for the tournament, that was hosted on English shores, Czechia decided to have a warm-up game against the Unibond League champions – who were dismantled 9-1.

Czechia might have learned a thing or two from Bamber Bridge, and they ended up runners-up having lost to Germany in the final.

Leeds United vs Leeds United

There have been a lot of strange occurrences at Leeds United since their stories fall from the Premier League, but perhaps none more so than friendly against themselves after the opposition didn't turn up.

Leeds were on a pre-season tour of Italy and after a 16-0 win against minnows FC Gherdeina, Leeds were scheduled to face Romanian side, FC Viitorul Constanta.

However, after a no-show, to appease the travelling fans, Leeds played three 20-minute games against themselves.

Plymouth vs Real Madrid

Ian Holloway once almost masterminded a pre-season win over Fabio Capello's Real Madrid – that would be if it wasn't for a Julio Baptista in the 75th minute.

Capello had just taken the reigns in Madrid, and he wanted to take the side to Austria, Los Blancos had previously set up camp in the Alps and they hoped to use the same hotel as last time.

There was one small problem, Holloway and Plymouth were in town. The Pilgrims agreed to let Madrid stay at the hotel and Madrid offered them a friendly in return.

Histon vs Real Sociedad

In 2013, Real Sociedad performed a minor miracle and clinched a Champions League berth for the first time in a decade.

So how did Los Txuri-Urdin prepare for their monumental season in Europe? By putting English non-league side Histon to the sword, of course, in an 8-1 thumping.

Unfortunately for Histon fans, the game was played behind closed doors, and Mexican star Carlos Vela was critical of the non-competitive nature of the game.

Shamrock Rovers vs Real Madrid

Shamrock Rovers have the unique achievement of being the first side Cristiano Ronaldo faced in a Madrid shirt.

And mere minutes into the clash, Shamrock Rovers defender Pat Flynn clattered into the then world's most expensive player. Flynn recalled: He got to me, the ball was there to be won. I took it and him with it; it was a great tackle and feeling. He just looked and thought, 'What just happened?'

Real ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a late strike from Raul.


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