Manchester United vs Real Madrid preview, free betting tips and prediction: Will the Champions League holders add to the Red Devils' misery?
Real Madrid @ 20/23 with Coral
All is not well at Manchester United with the start of the season less than two weeks away. Jose Mourinho has voiced his frustration at a lack of signings and given that as one of the main reasons behind United’s atrocious form in pre-season.
Three draws against middling opposition came before United were battered 4-1 by a Liverpool side boasting the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri on Saturday night. Shaqiri emphasised how much fun they were having beating the Red Devils with a terrific bicycle kick goal that added to their humiliation. And all of the performances have been humiliating in some form or another. The best United sides in recent years played with panache and gusto.
Mourinho’s side has no identity. He can hide behind the inexperienced players he’s fielding but the same criticism has been thrown at the senior side in the two years since he became their manager. Is a trademark third-season Mourinho meltdown in the pipeline?
This will be Real Madrid’s first game since winning their third successive Champions League by beating Liverpool 3-1 in the final. A lot has changed since then. Zinedine Zidane has stepped down as manager and Cristiano Ronaldo has been sold to Juventus. Two of the most important figures in Real Madrid history have been crucial to their European dominance.
It’s unclear whether new boss Julen Lopetegui will sign a marquee star before the season starts. Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Eden Hazard have all been linked. Instead, it could be the season in which Gareth Bale fulfils his destiny as Ronaldo’s successor. Stories about Madrid signing PSG forward Edinson Cavani are picking up speed. Even if he does come to the Spanish capital, it looks like this team will be led by a player with the potential to be the world’s best.
Among the players thrashed by Mourinho in the post-mortem of the Liverpool defeat was Anthony Martial. The French forward, who is believed to want a move away, went home for the birth of his child with Mourinho’s blessing but failed to return after the event. That’s a strike in the Portuguese coach’s book. He did praise the hard work of Alexis Sanchez and one of the few bright notes of this tour has been the form of Andreas Pereira, who looks like he’ll stick around.
Lopetegui has taken 32 players on the tour. While Luka Modric and Raphael Varane were among the Real Madrid players to contest the World Cup final, plenty of the club’s stars didn’t go to the tournament at all. That’s meant a long summer’s rest for the likes of Bale and Karim Benzema. Expensive Brazilian starlet Vinicius is expected to get some game time.