Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid stars pay visit to the Nou Camp on Sunday evening, as the Spanish Super Cup lays claim to the first official Clasico of the new season.
Los Blancos come into this fixture on the back of an impressive midweek display against Manchester United, when they secured the European Super Cup.
With yet another trophy to play for, and against their most bitter rivals no less, here’s how the Spanish giants might line up for this one:
The Costa Rican has established himself as Madrid’s unanimous number one in the seasons following the David de Gea scandal. Loved by his manager and teammates, he will hope to bounce back following the poor concession of a goal against Manchester United in midweek.
A full strength defensive complement which ultimately picks itself following the departure of veteran Pepe.
Rafa Varane is finally the undisputed starter alongside captain Sergio Ramos, whilst Carvajal and Marcelo have become stalwarts in the full back positions.
Madrid have failed to keep a clean sheet against Barca in competitive play since 2010, but will have trust in this defence to nullify their unsettled forward line.
In midfield Croat star Luka Modric has found himself suspended for the first leg of this tie following his sending off the last time Madrid appeared in the Super Cup in 2014!
New signing Dani Ceballos may push for a start here, whilst fellow Croat Mateo Kovacic could also be in consideration.
However, it is more likely that Zidane insists on a change of shape and Isco drops back into the midfield three. The Spaniard, who his teammates refer to as ”magic” has forced his way into the team as an attacking midfielder and is more than capable of filling the void left by Modric.
Modric’ absence saves Zidane a selection dilemma, as Isco’s form has seen him come in at the expense of one of Madrids triumvirate of attacking superstars.
However, it is most likely that for this game at least, Zidane unleashes Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo (the BBC) on Barcelona’s defence.
Whether all three start in the second leg is up in the air.