What will we learn about Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup?
Life without both Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane begins for Real Madrid on Wednesday night when they take on Atletico Madrid in Tallinn in the UEFA Super Cup.
Los Blancos have won the last two iterations of the annual match between the Champions League and Europa League winners.
They’re 6/4 to extend that run against their cross-city rivals. But what will we learn from the derby clash? We’ve taken a look at three things that could become clear this week.
Can Bale take Ronaldo’s mantle straight away?
Ronaldo’s exit has left a massive hole in Real’s forward line. So often the Portuguese maestro has been the man to turn to on the big occasion. His 15 goals in last season’s UCL is testament to that.
Gareth Bale has been in the star’s shadow throughout his time at the Bernabeu. Now he’s the main man.
His first opportunity to make his mark in the Ronaldo-less era will be in Tallinn on Wednesday night.
Whether he steps up or not straight away could provide a telling indication as to whether the 29-year-old has what it takes to be their talisman on a consistent basis.
What sort of manager is Lopetegui?
Ex-Spain boss Julen Lopetegui was the surprise appointment by Florentino Perez following Zinedine Zidane’s decision to step down as manager.
The Frenchman was more of an overseer than a coach. He let the players get on with their natural game rather than tinker with different formations and approaches.
Lopetegui promises to be different. But that doesn’t always go down well in the Spanish capital.
Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and Manuel Pellegrini have all fallen by the wayside at the Bernabeu in recent years. The new man’s baptism of fire could tell us a lot about how reign will pan out.
How will their new signings fit in?
In the midst of a World Cup summer and the return of the Premier League, it’s easy to forget that Real Madrid have actually been fairly busy in the transfer market.
Thibaut Courtois and right-back Alvaro Odriozola could both make their Los Blancos debuts here.
So too could winger Vinicius Junior who joined from Flamengo this summer in a deal worth £40.5m.
The 18-year-old star has been billed as the new Neymar. He could make his first-team bow after combining well alongside Luka Modric in the International Champions Cup.
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