Cristiano Ronaldo during the practice session. Pic/ AFP
Manchester United and Real Madrid – the two major clubs of the most popular football leagues in the world – are set to clash against each other on Tuesday. Even though Cristiano Ronaldo’s former and current clubs faced each other last month in the pre-season, a few things have changed since then like additions to the teams and transfers from them.
Teams have seen in and outs – best talent on pitch
Real Madrid will be missing the services of Morata and Rodrigues who were key in their double success last season, whereas the Red Devils are exuberant by the addition of Lukaku, Matic and Lindelof in their team. United with these transfers looks a much settled side whereas Madrid had enough players on their bench to fill the void of James and Morata. The team with the right formation will prevail.
Battle of Managers - Mourinho vs Zidane
Both the legendary managers will be looking to prove their mettle. While Mourinho has got a good deal at the transfer window, he should be looking to dominate the game as he has stated that winning the Super Cup would be their first priority ahead of the campaign. The Reds would be on a high as they defeated the Los Blancos in the International Champions Cup in a penalty shoot-out. Zizou has been at his inspirational best, resting an energy filled Ronaldo for not so important games and allowing him to go full throttle in crucial games. His rotational policy has been a class apart move.
Battle of the Exes
Mourinho will come up against the side he managed for three years between 2010 and 2013. He won the Copa del Rey in his first season at the Bernabeu and became only the fifth coach to win league titles in at least four different countries after claiming La Liga the following year. Meanwhile, Ronaldo is in line to be reunited with the Reds, having scored an impressive 118 goals in 292 appearances for United in six seasons at Old Trafford before joining Real in 2009.
Been there, done that
Both the teams have tasted success at the Super Cup, this will be the Spanish side’s 6th appearance for the cup whereas they have won it 3 times. On the other hand, United have appeared thrice in the past with being victorious on two occasions. Clubs of these stature know how it is to be at this big a stage. All they have to do is keep calm and play to their strength. Real will leave no stone unturned to defend their title whereas Man Utd will be in no mercy mood.
New formations on display
Both teams have done substantial changes in their squads, both have brought in new signings to strengthen their formations, both are facing players unavailability issue. It will be interesting to the Zizous and Mourinhos crack their grey matter and come out with a winning formation. And it is said, the team that will draw the first blood will eventually have the upper hand on the game. But will such high quality sides, expect the unexpected. Voltage will be high, temperatures will be soaring, the more you stick to plan and keep composure will come out victorious.
A RENEWED MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE SOMETHING TO PROVE
Manchester United and Real Madrid do battle for the prestigious UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday in the unlikely setting of Skopje, Macedonia. A sellout crowd will watch the Champions League and Europa League winners go head-to-head, with the first major piece of European silverware of the 2017-18 season up for grabs. The Red Devils have enjoyed a decent preseason, having lost just once in seven outings. They played out a 1-1 draw with Los Blancos in the U.S. earlier this summer before prevailing on penalties in the searing heat of California. That was Real Madrid's first game of the new season, though, so expect them to be that much sharper in the Balkans. Post a positive season opener tour and a renewed and refreshed squad, Mourinho and the Red Devils will look at proving their dominance against the Galacticos at the Super Cup Finals. Source: ESPN
TEMPERATURES SET SOARING AS MANCHESTER UNITED AND REAL MADRID HEAD INTO A HEATED UP SUPER CUP FINAL
Temperatures in Skopje are topping 40 degrees during the day – over 20 degrees higher than in Manchester. And they will only drop to around 35 degrees by the time the game kicks off in the 32,000-capacity Philip II Stadium tomorrow evening. The punishing heat will be a real drain on the players just five days before they start their Premier League title challenge against West Ham at Old Trafford on Sunday. United and Real faced each other in oppressive heat in Santa Clara on the US west coast three weeks ago but temperatures here will be the hottest they have ever endured and Uefa are set to allow water breaks to avoid the players suffering severe dehydration. Health warnings are in place across southern Europe where temperatures – the highest recorded for a decade in some regions – have reached potentially dangerous levels.
CAN LUKAKU BREAK MANCHESTER UNITED’S CURSE AT THE SUPER CUP
United have lost their last two Super Cup bids in 1999 and 2008. Mourinho will turn to his star signing Romelu Lukaku to make a strong statement to doubters on his ability to score against big clubs. Mourinho has put his faith in Lukaku to fill the void left by 28-goal striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, released by United this summer following a serious injury. Lukaku, believes Mourinho is the man to bring the glory days back to United, who have not been crowned champions since Sir Alex Ferguson signed off with the club’s 20th title in 2013
KROOS, THE ONLY REAL MADRID PLAYER TO FEATURE AS OFTEN AS RONALDO
When Real Madrid take on Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup this Tuesday, Toni Kroos can expect to be in the starting lineup, as he is the only player in the squad to represent Los Blancos as often as star man Cristiano Ronaldo. Since his arrival in the summer of 2014, the German has played 147 of the team's 171 official matches, which is 86 percent of all games and which is just one behind Ronaldo's tally of 148. The reason Kroos plays at a similar frequency as the No.7 is obvious, that he performs at a consistently high level and that he has maintained good fitness and hasn't suffered as many injuries as midfield colleagues Luka Modric and Casemiro. Given that he is racking up close to 50 appearances per season, he could even break the 200 appearances mark by the end of this upcoming campaign. Source: Marca
DID YOU KNOW? INTERESTING FACTS AND FIGURES AROUND THE SUPER CUP
1. Real Madrid
• This is Real Madrid's sixth appearance in the UEFA Super Cup (W3 L2); having lost their first two finals, they have won the last three.
• Madrid are aiming to become the first team to win successive UEFA Super Cups since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.
• Victory would give Madrid four UEFA Super Cups; only Milan and FC Barcelona, with five apiece, have won more.
• Spain have triumphed in the last three UEFA Super Cups, and in seven of the last eight. A Spanish side has not lost to non-Liga opponents since Madrid's defeat by Galatasaray in 2000.
• A Madrid win would add to Spain's 13 UEFA Super Cup triumphs to date; Italy have nine with England on seven.
2. Manchester United
• This is the Red Devil’s 4th final appearance. United's record in the UEFA Super Cup is W1 L2. 2008: United 1-2 FC Zenit (VidiÄÂÂ 73; Pogrebnyak 44, Danny 59)
• No English club has won the UEFA Super Cup since Liverpool FC defeated PFC CSKA Moskva in 2005. Since then, United (2008) and Chelsea FC (2012, 2013) have both lost in the match.
3. Real Madrid vs Manchester United
• This is the sides' 11th meeting, with Madrid having won four and United two with four draws. Madrid have scored 20 goals to United's 16.
• The 2017 UEFA Super Cup breaks a run of three consecutive Spain vs Spain finals.
• This will be the sixth time that English and Spanish teams have gone head-to-head in the UEFA Super Cup (1979, 1980, 1982, 1998, 2012, 2017).
• 2017 UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid will be taking part in their sixth UEFA Super Cup.
• 2017 UEFA Europa League winners Manchester United are making their fourth appearance in the UEFA Super Cup.
• This will be the first head-to-head in this competition between the two clubs.
• Real Madrid have won three of their previous five final appearances, giving them a 60% final success rate.
• Manchester United have won one of their previous three final appearances, giving them a 33% final success rate. A victory in the 2017 final would mark their first UEFA Super Cup triumph for 26 years.
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