The domestic season may only be three days away now but the curtain raiser for European club competition takes place tonight as Manchester United and Real Madrid go head to head in Skopje, Macedonia to see who can add to their continental success from a couple of months ago and take home the European Super Cup
Jose Mourinho faces one of his former employers due to the fact his side made easy work of Ajax in the Europa League Final back in May while Real Madrid are here by virtue of being the first team to win back to back Champions League title’s (Champions League era before anyone starts)
For United the focus will undoubtedly be on Romelu Lukaku as he will make his competitive debut against the Spanish champions, he has looked impressive in pre-season but the opposition tonight will prove something of a sterner test.
He could be joined by other new signings Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic, expect the former to pair up with Ivorian Eric Bailly at the heart of defence while the Serbian midfielder who joined from Chelsea will be charged with protecting the defence.
Should that be the case then it will allow Paul Pogba more license to go forward and with the removal of the price tag of “World’s most expensive footballer” after Neymar’s move to PSG will we now see the French international offer more consistent performances especially in the final third of the pitch.
For Zinedine Zidane there has been little change over the summer with Theo Hernandez the only major addition to the Bernabeu, that however has not been for the want of trying as the Spanish giants have been linked with a whole host of names.
The player that they continually are linked with is Kylian Mbappe, the Monaco teenager is being reportedly chased by a handful of Europe’s top clubs but no move has been forthcoming. That is arguably good news for Gareth Bale who continually has questions marks over his future in Madrid.
The Welsh international would most likely be the sacrificial lamb should Mbappe arrive for two reasons – firstly that move would have to be funded by a player sale and out of the ‘BBC’ there is no real possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema leaving anytime soon.
This has put tonight’s opponents Manchester United on high alert as they would love to land Bale but we are not quite at a tug of war situation just yet. The former Tottenham star though will be given a chance to impress though with Portugal’s Ronaldo not featuring due to an extended break.
After his exploits in the Confederations Cup which saw Portugal fail to add to their Euro 2016 success of the year before not to mention some new additions to the Cristiano Ronaldo family it has long been announced that he would not take any part in this game and we would be spurned the chance to see him go against his old club.
That will good news for United but there are of course a number of other threats that they will have to do with, one of them though is not Alvaro Morata who for a long time was believed to making the move to Old Trafford only to then end up at Stamford Bridge.
Ultimately that is because the United hierarchy opted for Lukaku and they will hope that their decision is proved correct by the Belgian forward firing the goals that fires them to victory and adds a fourth (albeit minor) trophy to Jose Mourinho’s stint in charge.
Here is what twitter thinks will happen later tonight
Time for another "Scientific Poll" who will the European Super Cup tomorrow?
Real Madrid or Manchester United
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) August 7, 2017
Will they be correct come 10pm – we will find out later on