Real Madrid claimed the UEFA Champions League title earlier this summer, while Manchester United captured the Europa League silverware. For my fellow Americans, it’s kind of like saying Madrid won the NCAA Tournament (“march madness”) and United conquered the NIT, and now you get the NCAA and NIT winners together to square off in the UEFA Super Cup.
It will happen Tuesday night in Skopje, Macedonia with United looking to win their second Super Cup in their fourth attempt, and Real attempting to claim their fourth victory in this their sixth try.
-The usual Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Man United transfer rumors re-emerged today. That’s probably a big nothing burger, but the real question is will Ronaldo play in this one, and if so, how much?
-Zinedine Zidane said on Tuesday that CR7 would return to his team on Aug 5. Here’s a link to what he said the next night, when asked if Ronaldo would feature for Real Madrid in the Super Cup. It’s likely both Zidane and Ronaldo will be more focused on saving it up for an El Clasico just five days after this clash.
-There’s been some history of bad blood between these two teams over the years and that got ramped up in early July as the two teams trained within a few hundred yards of each other at UCLA. At the time, they squabbled over hotel accommodations and facilities. There’s was a bit of #FirstWorldProblems going on there.
-Another interesting Super Cup news story from a few weeks ago, local hotels engaging in some egregious price gouging.
Manchester United Brief Synopsis:
United won six of their seven preseason friendlies, Of course, it is just preseason, so don’t read too much into that. You got to give Jose Mourinho’s side this though- the best they looked this summer was in the most recent friendly, a 2-1 win over Sampdoria at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. That first half was probably the best 45 minutes of football we saw from them in the exhibition season.
Mourinho wanted four players at four different positions in this summer’s transfer market. He got three- striker Romelu Lukaku, holding midfielder Nemanja Matic and central defender Victor Lindelof. The only missing piece was the attacking mid/winger that he coveted.
Real Madrid Brief Synopsis:
Real won just one of their four preseason friendlies, and that one came against the MLS All-Stars on penalty kicks. Of course, Los Meringues were without their entire BBC front line for the first 60 minutes against Major League Soccer’s biggest and brightest. Gareth Bale (oh he’s been linked with transfer rumors to United too, you know, just like he always is) and Karim Benzema came on for the final 30, but both went scoreless for the entire preseason.
With Ronaldo not even being with the team for any of the preseason friendlies, it means the entire BBC line was obviously goalless this summer.
Just as Zidane said here, it’s not a big deal. However, the Frenchman did discuss what he wants to see improve in his side. He did admit “something is up,” given the poor form shown by his team this preseason.
The two time defending champions of Europe looked very lackluster during their USA exhibition match tour.
Super Cup Odds: Sky Bet gives Real 5/6 odds of winning, while Manchester United are 3/1 and a draw are 5/2.
Kickoff: 2:45 PM EST, 7:45 BST
Super Cup Prediction: Real Madrid 1, Manchester United 0
United beat Real on penalty kicks in a friendly in Santa Clara, California just 16 days ago. However, that’s just preseason. Juan Mata is feeling confident of a United victory, but I don’t agree.