Despite Superstars Real Madrid Off to Their Worst Start in 73 Years

MADRID Spain (Associated Press) - Real Madrid is off to its worst start to a season in 73 years following an equally bad finish at the end of the last.

At the same time FC Barcelona has risen two points clear of champions Valencia to lead the league for the first time in three years with Madrid trailing in tenth place seven points behind."Owen Raul Morientes Figo Ronaldo Zidane Beckham ... and only four goals blasted sports daily Marca on Monday.

With four goals in six matches two of them from midfielder David Beckham's free kicks the Spanish powerhouse has made the lowest-scoring start to a season in a lifetime.

Such statistics can only add to the pressure mounting on new coach Mariano Garcia Remon especially when you consider that three players in the league Savo Milosevic and Marco Di Vaio not to mention former Madrid striker Samuel Eto'o have all scored more goals than the whole of the Madrid squad this season.

Madrid suffered its third loss in six matches Sunday as Albert Luque netted Deportivo La Coruna's 1-0 winner.

Luque had made a defense-busting fast run that stunned the powerhouse in the 45th minute.

Embarrassingly Argentina international central defender Walter Samuel who joined Madrid for ?25 million (US$30.2 million) from AS Roma in May was nowhere near Luque when he netted the goal.

Defenders Michel Salgado and Ivan Helguera were powerless to stop Luque and fullback Roberto Carlos was stranded in the attacking midfield.

In fairness Madrid had a chance to go ahead in the third minute when Raul Gonzalez was tripped in the penalty area but referee Teixeira Vilienes did not see the foul.

Michael Owen also had two good chances in the 36th minute and 45th minutes but he shot the first wide of the left post and lost his footing as he kicked the other.

Remon then substituted Owen with Fernando Morientes in the 52nd minute but the change backfired as Madrid's attacking possibilities seemed to halt completely.

Owen's speed which benefits from balls through the midfield could not be used to maximum effect with the crosses that Madrid was reduced to trying by Deportivo's tight defensive formation.

At a shareholders' meeting earlier on Sunday Madrid president Florentino Perez gave his full support to the coach.

He explained that Remon had stepped in when Jose Antonio Camacho resigned unexpectedly.

"We have the whole season ahead of us and Mariano Garcia Remon with his enormous drive will lend continuity to our work said Perez.

For the moment Perez is fully behind Remon it remains to be seen how long the honeymoon can last.