Real Madrid will be playing against Atletico Madrid for the second-leg on the Spanish SuperCup after the first-leg ended 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Now, I take a look at what we can expect from Real Madrid as they prepare for this match.
“Two Different Teams” –
Before the first-leg, Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that two different teams will be playing in both legs of the Supercup. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that there will be a few unexpected changes to the lineup tomorrow night, but I personally don’t see too much changing in midfield. Ancelotti chose a strong midfield lineup that consisted of Xabi Alonso, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Since his strongest players were able to play (other than James Rodriguez and Angel Di Maria), I only see two changes being made in that part of the pitch.
Also, I have a slight feeling that Keylor Navas will make his debut in a competitive match as Raphael Varane will play instead of either Pepe or Sergio Ramos. Ancelotti was very careful not to give anything away during his pre-match press conference so it looks like we’ll just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow night.
Cristiano Ronaldo –
During the first-leg, Cristiano Ronaldo had to be substituted off during half time due to a minor injury that he suffered during the game. The good news is that he is fit enough to be picked in the team traveling to the match but I don’t see him starting. Well, I hope that he doesn’t start. The Portuguese has had quite a few injury problems since the ending of last season and therefore it will be the best choice not to start him in the match and take any unnecessary chances.
Yes, we have a cup to play for, but it’s going to be more important for us to keep him fit for a very long season ahead. If we lose the match against Atletico Madrid, it will not be the end of the world and therefore, it’s better to keep Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench and maybe bring him on at some point during the second half if he’s needed. We have a team strong enough to compete without him.
Angel Di Maria –
Earlier today, Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Angel Di Maria has asked to leave the club and has also rejected a new contract from Real Madrid. Of course, he may still end up staying and he is still a Real Madrid player but I personally don’t see him being a Los Merengues player after the end of the transfer window. So, I think that we can actually expect him to start tomorrow as a ‘goodbye’ game before he ends up leaving. At the moment, it looks like he will be leaving to Manchester United, but anything is possible right now.
James Rodriguez –
James Rodriguez started the game on the bench during the first-leg and I think that he will be starting tomorrow night. He came on for Cristiano Ronaldo at the beginning of the second half and was also able to get his name on the scoresheet during his first game at the Santiago Bernabeu. James Rodriguez needs the match practice as his performances have been very average so far. With that said, the goal he scored during the first-leg will be giving him a lot of confidence coming into this game and I’m sure we will be seeing some improvement.
My Predicted Starting Lineup –
When predicting my starting lineup, I kept in mind that Carlo Ancelotti has said we will have a very different team starting in the second-leg. Here is who I predict will be starting during the game tomorrow night:
Alvaro Arbeloa, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Fabio Coentrao
Luka Modric, Toni Kroos
Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo