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Scouting The Opposition: Real Madrid aiming to continue European domination in the UEFA Super Cup

Manchester United go head to head with UEFA Champions League and La Liga holders Real Madrid in Skopje, Macedonia on Tuesday evening to contest for the UEFA Super Cup. United last won the cup in 1991 after lifting the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup, also playing in the European opening twice; in 1999 and 2008 – losing both matches. Real Madrid have played in this cup five times, winning three times; 2002, 2015 and 2016. This will be their sixth time in the competition. United will be making their fourth appearance. Real Madrid and their team of galacticos will be looking to dominate European football once again by holding the Champions League and Super Cup at the same time for successive seasons. United will be looking to lift the trophy once again after two failed attempts in the last 18 years.

Real Madrid won La Liga last season, beating rivals Barcelona to the title, their first title in five years. Zinedine Zidane’s los blancos are as competitive as ever, losing Alvaro Morata this summer, who was linked to United and eventually signed for Chelsea and even failed to get a penalty on target in the FA Community Shield defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, which showed United had done much better in signing Romelu Lukaku from Everton for a fee fewer than the Madrid club wanted for the Spanish striker. Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are both back in action for the club. The former not involved in any of the pre-season matches of the summer which saw United beat the Madrid club, albeit on penalties in the International Champions Cup in Santa Clara last month.

Manager: Zinedine Zidane

The 45-year-old French manager was once a world record signing for Real Madrid after transferring from Italian side Juventus for €77.5 million. Zinedine Zidane has literally done it all in the game. Whilst playing for Bordeaux, signing for them after starting his senior career at Cannes, Zidane won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1995. The Frenchman then moved to Juventus where he won the Serie A title twice, one Supercoppa Italiana, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, and one UEFA Intertoto Cup. After arriving at Real Madrid, Zidane won one La Liga, one Supercopa de España, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup. Whilst playing for France, Zidane was just as successful winning the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and the European Championships in 2006, also the runners-up in the World Cup in 2006. Zidane started his management career at Real Madrid Castilla and since becoming the permanent manager of Real Madrid he has won one La Liga title, two UEFA Champions League trophies, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Manchester United back in the summer of 2003, replacing David Beckham, who signed for Real Madrid that summer. Ronaldo was a star at United with Sir Alex Ferguson getting the best out of the player with him becoming a world star in a few years. In 2008. Ronaldo helped United to the UEFA Champions League and Premier League double, the most successful season in his United career. The club did make the Champions League final in 2009 also but were beaten by a resolute Barcelona side. Ronaldo left United for a then world record fee of £80 million that summer signing for Real Madrid, a club he promised his late father he would play for. Ronaldo continued to break records and to this day he has scored 406 goals in 394 competitive appearances, which is a great record for the forward, who has been missed at United. Ronaldo has shone against his former club and despite it being suggested he would have a longer summer break after playing in the Confederations Cup in the summer, Ronaldo is back and training and could play a part in the UEFA Super Cup.

Previous Matches:

Manchester United and Real Madrid have met ten times in competitive matches with United winning twice, Real Madrid winning four times and the two sides drawing four times. Whilst United have not been all that lucky against the side; losing 5-3 on aggregate in the European Cup in 1957, just before that fateful trip to Belgrade which ended in disaster in Munich, then the 4-3 aggregate victory in the same competition in 1968, the year United reached the promised time for the first time. United met the Madrid side again in 200, losing 3-2 on aggregate, meeting again in 2003 and despite winning 4-3 at Old Trafford, United lost 6-5 on aggregate. In 2013, the last competitive fixtures between the clubs, United lost 3-2 on aggregate. United though have beaten Real Madrid in pre-season, which counts for nothing. Could this be that fits competitive victory over Real Madrid which means something?

Pre-Season Form:

Real Madrid have played four of their five pre-season matches this summer, not winning a single match in 90 minutes. The Spanish champions pre-season started with the 1-1 draw against Manchester United in the International Champions Cup with United winning 2-1 on penalties, which were a farce with most players missing the target. Manchester City were their next opposition with United’s noisy neighbours beating the side 4-1. The final match of the International Champions Cup was against Barcelona, an El Classico with the Catalan side winning 3-2. Real Madrid then took on the MLS All-Stars, drawing 1-1 after 90 minutes, but winning 4-2 on penalties. United will be the clubs fifth match this summer, not a pre-season friendly though before they play their last against Fiorentina on the 23rd August at the Santiago Bernabeu which comes three days after the La Liga season starts with an away to Deportivo La Coruña.

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester United

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