Barcelona and Real Madrid play two games for the Supercopa de Espana, the Spanish equivalent of the English Community Shield game.
This is the first major test for the new Barcelona Basque manager Ernesto Valverde and his official debut in charge of the Catalan team. Valverde is professional who have been recognized by Real Madrid. The Basque is expected to change the Barcelona’s formation from 4-2-3-1 to 4-2-4, something that might work in favor if Barca or help Real to trash them in the first of he two leg clash.
Valverde has changed the Barcelona tactics a bit and now without Neymar in the Catalan team, Lionel Messi is even more important for the team in attack. Ernesto Valverde might also use high press, something that he has been using in Atletico Bilbao.
Gerard Deulofeu – player to watch!
A player to watch in both legs of Supercopa de Espana is Gerard Delofeu. He is expected to start in the left side of the Barcelona attack. Delofeu, who came from the Barca youth academy and played for Everton and Milan is both physical strong and technically gifted offensive player who has been brought back to Camp Nou by Valverde and was promised to play regular football. He will not step into Neymar’s shoes and no one expect anything like that from him. However, he might help Barca fans to forget about Neymar’s departure and to get excited about the prospects to see their academy player playing regularly for the Blaugrana.
During the pre-match press conference Ernesto Valverde said that the friendly game that Barca played against Real in Miami on July 29th could be used for a reference only. “Now it’s different, there is a title at stake and they want to win it as well. We will have to give our best to win, they will be two tough matches. We are focused on the game and whatever the talk is, we are only thinking about that”, said Valverde. He has also said that Messi is in-form and he expects to see the striker at his best.
Barcelona are expected to play with Ter Stegen in goal, Vidal, Pique, Umtiti and Jordi Alba in defence, Busquests, Rakitic and Iniesta in the midfield and Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Gerard Deulofeu in attack.
Ronaldo to be on the bench for Real Madrid?
Zinedine Zidane has left Marcos Llorente and Borja Mayoral out of the squad for the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana clash. Luka Modric is suspended while Jesus Vallejo is injured. Zidane is expected to keep rotating his players as he did in season 2016/2017.
Keylor Navas will start as goalkeeper with Theo, Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Carvajal in front of him. Casemiro, Kroos, Kovacic and Isco are expected to start in the midfield with Bale and Benzema as strikers. This formation has been used by Zidane in the European Super Cup clash between Ream madrid and Manchester United.
We’d see whether the 4 player midfield would help Real Madrid block Barca attacks in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who is a little bit behind his team mates, as he started the pre-season late.
If Ronaldo plays tonight against Barcelona he will make his 374th appearance for Real Madrid, which put him on level with the club’s legend Alfredo di Stefano. The Portuguese is expected to keep making history in Madrid despite the speculations that he is unhappy at Spain and wants to leave the country.
According to the Spanish press Ronaldo will play for Real for at least another year. He has overtaken Raul as Real Madrid all time goalscorer in 2015. Before Sunday clash at Camp Nou Ronaldo has scored 407 goals, 84 more than Raul.
For anyone who is neither a Barca nor or Real fan, Barcelona would be the more interesting team to watch as they are those who would need to gradually revamp their squad in order to regain the La Liga title.