The first official game of the 2017-18 season for both sides and it is set to be an epic encounter between two heavyweights of European football. The game itself kicks off at 20:45 at Philip II Arena in Skopje, Macedonia. Champions League winners Real Madrid and Europa League winners Manchester United face each other in Skopje, Macedonia where temperatures are set to soar above 30 for the European Super Cup.
Real Madrid will compete for six trophies this season with the very real possibility of winning, if not all, a large chunk of that six. Manchester United will battle for five as Mourinho looks to start his season off with the first of what United fans are hoping is a successful year at the club.
The big news in Real Madrid’s camp is that Cristiano Ronaldo, fresh off his summer holidays, is in Zinedine Zidane’s squad and is “here to play” according to the manager. There is lots of noise around the Portuguese attacker, as always, says Zidane but he is calm.
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale is garnering attention that is not being helped by Jose Mourinho. The former Real Madrid head coach says if Bale doesn’t start then he might be heading for the exit and would be willing to fight for him if that’s the case.
Zidane seems unmoved, however, as always, and is only concerned with what his side do.
He has his first choice keeper, defense, and midfield but it remains to be seen what the French manager opts to do with his forward line.
There are doubts that Ronaldo, after his three days of training, will be ready to play but if he does, Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale are battling for playing time alongside, presumable, Karim Benzema.
Zidane says Real Madrid are missing a striker but for the moment, his compatriot will likely lead the line. The big question is who lines up beside him.
Jose Mourinho i s intent on playing up United’s role as the underdogs citing the difference in quality between the Champions League and the Europa League.
He will be without Phil Jones and Eric Bailly as both are suspended while Timothy Fosu-Mensah will also be abesnt as he moves south to London where he will play with Crystal Palace on loan for the year.
Luke Shaw, Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo continue their longer term injury rehab while Nemanja Matic is “available but not available like the others” , according to Mourinho.
Mourinho, who said he practically had to beg to leave Real Madrid, will return to play his former side for the first time in an official game since he left for Chelsea four years ago. It will be the fifth time in total that he has played Real Madrid as a manager with a record of three losses and one draw – all during his time at Porto.
The players he signed this summer moved to win trophies and at the earliest opportunity, they are offered the chance to do just that and hand their manager his first win over Real Madrid. The rivalry has heated up in recent years and here are five reasons in helping to understand why.
Real Madrid vs Manchester United: potential line-ups
Real Madrid XI: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Isco, Benzema, Cristiano/Bale
Head coach: Zinedine Zidane
Manchester United XI: De Gea, Smalling, Lindelöf, Blind, Valencia, Darmian, Herrera, Fellaini, Pogba, Mkhitaryan/Rashford, Lukaku
Head coach: José Mourinho
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