UEFA Super Cup 2017 Preview
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The first piece of European silverware is up for grabs in the UEFA Super Cup this evening, as Champions League winners Real Madrid take on Europa League winners Manchester United at the Phillip II Arena in Macedonia. Cristiano Ronaldo has been named in the Real Madrid side despite reportedly telling a Spanish court of his desire to move back to England. Ronaldo is currently facing charges from Spanish prosecutors in relation to his allegedly not paying £13 million in taxes between 2011 and 2014. The 32-year-old was originally expected to miss out on the clash after being granted extended leave due to his commitments in the Confederations Cup. It is unclear whether he will start but there could be a start for Theo Hernandez who was signed from Atletico Madrid in the summer. Real also notably signed Dani Ceballos from Real Betis who is widely tipped to be a huge star in the near future. This will be a big test for United as they embed in new signings such as Romelu Lukaku, who was signed from Everton in a deal worth potentially £90m. Madrid under Zinedine Zidane last season enjoyed a very successful campaign, winning four trophies including the Champions League and the La Liga title. Real will also be looking to defend the Super Cup having won the competition at the start of last season. United under Mourinho suffered a disappointing campaign in the league, finishing outside the top four for the second consecutive season.
However their Europa League triumph meant that the reds will be playing Champions League football once again this season. They also picked up the EFL Cup, in a victory typical of Mourinho.
have suffered a stuttering set of pre-season results, in comparison Manchester United enjoyed a rather successful pre-season with six wins from seven games including wins over local rivals Manchester City, and a 5-2 win over LA Galaxy. This will be the first time since 2008 that United have competed in the Super Cup.
The last competitive meeting between the sides was in 2013 where Mourinho was in the Real Madrid dugout. The game finished 2-1 to Real Madrid at Old Trafford with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring against his old club. The 2-1 win saw Real triumph 3-2 over United in the Champions League Round of 16.
Manchester United have won only one UEFA Super Cup, back in 1991, their previous two finals in 1999 and 2008 they ended up on the losing side.
Real Madrid have won three UEFA Super Cups - winning in 2002, 2014 and 2016. They ended up on the losing side in 1998 and 2000.
Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are suspended for the game but Lindelof, Lukaku and Matic should all be available to make their official debuts for the Manchester United. Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young remain long term absentees.
As mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo was included in Real Madrid's squad for this game despite ongoing speculation. Goalkeeper Luca Zidane was also included in his father's squad for this game
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