Hello one and all, David Cooper with you throughout the day for every nugget of Real Madrid news.
On Saturday night, Los Blancos stepped up their preparation for the new La Liga campaign with a 3-1 success over AC Milan in the annual Santiago Bernabeu Trophy match.
Julen Lopetegui’s men will now face city rivals Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup final on Wednesday in Estonia before beginning their league campaign at home to Getafe next weekend.
10:20pm – Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo dazzles with goal on debut for Juventus
Nearly 5,000 supporters turned up to watch the Portuguese in action against the B team and were rewarded with a goal from their new star in the eighth minute.
9:02pm – Ronaldo reassures fans after health scare
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo says he will be discharged from hospital in Ibiza on Monday following reports that he was in intensive care with pneumonia.
7:45pm – Real Madrid legend Ronaldo hospitalised with pneumonia
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo is in intensive care with pneumonia in Ibiza, according to Spanish reports.
5:28pm – Super Cup talking points
Stuart Appleby assesses some of the key talking points as Los Blancos prepare for the Super Cup clash against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.
1:15pm – Courtois’ agent speaks on goalkeeper’s exit at Chelsea
Christophe Henrotay insisted that Thibaut Courtois would not have left Chelsea had his family been living in London. The Belgian completed a move to Real Madrid last week after going AWOL in the build-up to the transfer deadline. Read more on that story here.
12:02pm – Rudiger doesn’t miss Courtois
Read more, here.
10.30am – Odegaard loan likely
Real Madrid youngster Martin Odegaard is expected to be allowed to leave the club on loan, with a move to the English Championship a possibility.
We bring you more on his future.
10am – Hazard linked with Bernabeu move… again
Read more, here.
9.30am – Watch highlights from Real’s success over AC Milan
9am – Real enjoy run-out in Santiago Bernabeu Trophy
Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Borja Mayoral were all on target for the Whites on Saturday during the success over the Italian giants, while former Real striker Gonzalo Higuain also found the back of the net for the away side.
Real Madrid rounded off their pre-season campaign by clinching the annual Santiago Bernabeu Trophy against AC Milan in the Spanish capital on Saturday night.
Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Borja Mayoral were all on target for Los Blancos in the 3-1 success.
The games are now coming thick and fast for Julen Lopetegui’s charges with the UEFA Super Cup encounter to come against city rivals Atletico Madrid on Wednesday evening in Estonia.
The Whites then host Getafe on Sunday night in their opening La Liga match.
Here, we assess some of the key talking points from the Rossoneri match and throw it ahead to the clash against Diego Simeone’s men.
Scoring goals doesn’t seem to be a big issue
How do you plug a deficit of 450 goals in 438 games over nine seasons? It’s the impossible task and there is no way of completely replacing Cristiano Ronaldo, but Real have quickly found ways around it.
The three-pronged front line of Marco Asensio, operating in more of a false capacity, along with flying attacker Gareth Bale and Frenchman Karim Benzema either side, seems to be gelling.
Los Blancos’ initial response to losing Ronaldo was to look outside rather than in but after pursuits for Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski failed to materialise, Lopetegui was more than happy to work with what he had.
And there is no dearth of quality.
Given neither of Asensio, Bale or Benzema featured at the World Cup, the new boss has had a clean slate in which to work with them with from July 18 and coach the trio into feeding off the same wavelength. Bale, in particular, is clearly relishing his role post-Ronaldo as the mainstay.
In total, Real notched nine goals in four pre-season matches against Manchester United, Juventus, Rome and Milan, with Asensio and Bale bagging three each, as well as a couple for Benzema – who appears to be ready to play a big role after a woeful 2017-18.
It is of course early days but none of the front three are now bound by Ronaldo or restricted by his movement. The parting of the club legend should also open the door to Borja Mayoral and Vinicius Junior in supplementing the load in the final third.
That all said, the effectiveness of Real’s attacking stars this season needs to be at the best possible level to fill Ronaldo’s goal void.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 12, 2018
The Luka Modric effect
The Croatian World Cup star, who has reportedly penned a new and improved contract at the club giving him pay parity alongside Sergio Ramos and Bale, is staying put.
He received a standing ovation after coming off the bench in the second-half on Saturday, replacing Isco at the Bernabeu, in a glowing show of affection from the home faithful.
Lopetegui and club president Florentino Perez have made it clear the 32-year-old is the centrepiece for the Whites moving forward.
He, along with Toni Kroos, will need a flourishing support cast this coming campaign. Casemiro has the scope to improve technically under his new manager while Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente surely have a role to play to support Modric, as well as Isco.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 11, 2018
The stage is set for Courtois to take the No1 jersey
Keylor Navas can count himself extremely unlucky to have been dislodged as Real’s No1. The Costa Rican might have the odd (rare) mistake in him but has been a stalwart of this side since 2015. Yes, he was one of Zinedine Zidane’s chief lieutenants but given he is only 31, had plenty of more miles in the tank left as the club’s first choice.
He featured on Saturday from the start, however, Navas is resigned to the fact Thibaut Courtois is the new man between the sticks, although he has vowed to stay and fight for his place.
Courtois, meanwhile, since his protracted arrival from Chelsea last week, has been training behind the scenes at the club’s Valdebebas base.
The Belgian is expected to make his competitive bow against Atletico, which is ironic given his past connection with the club. At his official presentation, Courtois was pictured kissing the Los Blancos badge – and that didn’t go down too well with the Los Rojiblancos support, with some sections of their fan base labelling him a “rat”.
Having finally sealed the dream move of his career though, he will be determined to start with a trophy.
Ultimately, Courtois should have the long-term goal of becoming the next Iker Casillas and seek to model his career on the club legend. But, first, he needs a strong start to the season and consistency in the bucketload to prove to Madridistas their club’s courtship of him was worthwhile after all.
UEFA Super Cup is a big game
Facing Simeone in the dugout so early on in the season could prove to be a blessing or a hindrance for Lopetegui.
A positive pre-season leaves Real in a good position to hit the ground running, while a win over last season’s Europa League winners would be the perfect tonic.
Early bragging rights are at stake and Atletico once again have the capability to challenge on all fronts again.
For Lopetegui, we have seen his teams start games quickly – something which always used to baffle Zidane when his side failed to do just that. Possession-based football, with an emphasis of building the ball out from the back, has been a hallmark of pre-season coupled with Real’s increased pressing, which has been noticeable.
Tactically, Lopetegui fits and understands the ethos of the club.
Is Real’s transfer business done?
It looks that way, yes. Reports of a late and final pursuit of Eden Hazard have certainly pleased the headline-makers but it would take a sizeable warchest, possibly a world-record fee, to prise him away from Stamford Bridge.
Bringing in another forward shouldn’t be completely ruled out but from the outset it appears Perez’s business is as good as done, and gone are the Galactico days.
Real Madrid ran out comfortable 3-1 winners against AC Milan in the annual Santiago Bernabeu Trophy match on Saturday night in the Spanish capital.
Goals from Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Borja Mayoral helped the Whites to the trophy while former Real striker Gonzalo Higuain found the back of the net for the away side.
Watch highlights from the match below:
📺 Real Madrid 3-1 Milan
⚽ WATCH ALL GOALS
🏆 Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu#HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/GlYYCaCIQ7
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 11, 2018