Will Cristiano Ronaldo start and four other key talking points as Real Madrid and Manchester United set to contest Super Cup

There's plenty to discuss and consider as Real Madrid and Manchester United prepare to lock horns on Tuesday night.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
8th August 2017

article:8th August 2017

Ronaldo is in contention for match on Tuesday night in Skopje, Macedonia.
Ronaldo is in contention for match on Tuesday night in Skopje, Macedonia.

Real Madrid vs Manchester United is a mouthwatering UEFA Super Cup final and is the perfect way to kick-off the season before the domestic football campaign gets underway.

Ahead of the match in Macedonia, both teams have decisions to make over selection and personnel.


What do you make of the key talking points?

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Starting with United’s backline…

ISSUES IN DEFENCE FOR UNITED

Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof will likely start the game in the heart of Manchester United’s defence after the Red Devils found themselves on the wrong side of UEFA.

Eric Bailly and Phil Jones would most probably be Jose Mourinho’s starting centre-back pairing, but both have been given bans. Mourinho has been experimenting with a back five in pre-season but he might switch back to a traditional four for the final.

Either way it means starts for new signing Lindelof, who has looked shaky in pre-season, alongside the much maligned Smalling.

First-choice: Chris Smalling.

WINGERS OR MIDFIELD DOMINANCE?

Towards the end of last season, Zinedine Zidane turned his back on the 4-3-3 formation he had previously used almost exclusively, instead fielding a midfield diamond which allowed Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to control possession while Isco roamed and Casemiro held firm.

It worked superbly and there’s no reason for Zidane to revert back to his former 4-3-3, unless he feels obliged to find a place for Gareth Bale.

Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane looks at Real Madrid's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) during a training session ahead of the UEFA Super Cup 2017 football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at The National Arena Filip II in Skopje on August 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Zidane has choices to make in midfield department.

‘NEMANJA, WHOOOA’

Mourinho now has three of the four signings he demanded this summer after bringing his former charge Nemanja Matic (right) in from old club Chelsea last week. The Serbian, importantly, gives United discipline in midfield.

It means Paul Pogba will be allowed to exert his influence on the game, while Ander Herrera is free to be at his creative best, while not being stymied by having to sit back and screen the defence.

Manchester United's midfielder Paul Pogba warms up during a training session ahead of the UEFA Super Cup 2017 football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at the National Arena Filip II in Skopje on August 7, 2017. Cristiano Ronaldo could feature against his former club Manchester United in Tuesday's UEFA Super Cup after being included in Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane's squad for the trip to Skopje, Macedonia. / AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

License to thrill: Pogba.

IS RONALDO GOING TO BE BACK IN BUSINESS?

Bale’s playing time and position at Real Madrid will depend to a great extent upon whether Zidane decides to give Cristiano Ronaldo his first pre season run-out after being given an extended break following his Confederations Cup involvement with Portugal.

Ronaldo’s rebirth as a centre forward means he is highly unlikely to return to his old left-wing berth.

But if he starts on the bench, Zidane could field Karim Benzema as a lone frontman.

Real Madrid's French head coach Zinedine Zidane (L) looks on as Real Madrid's forward Cristiano Ronaldo shoots the ball during a training session before the UEFA Super Cup 2017 football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at the National Arena Filip II on August 7, 2017 in Skopje. / AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

A familiar face is back…

MARCELO AND CARVAJAL TO DO THE DAMAGE?

Finding space to attack against a Jose Mourinho team is never easy, but Madrid have a couple of wild cards up their sleeves in the form of Marcelo and
Dani Carvajal.

More than any other full-back duo in world football, Madrid’s pair are responsible for giving their team attacking width.

United must be forever diligent in tracking their attacking runs if they want to minimise their influence upon the action.

Real Madrid's midfielder Luka Modric (L) and Real Madrid's defender Marcelo (R) warm up during a training session ahead of the UEFA Super Cup 2017 football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at The National Arena Filip II in Skopje on August 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Key man: Marcelo.


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