Summer’s still at full force with friendlies happening all over the world. This time, Real Madrid move to China to play another pair of matches for the Chinese version of the International Champions Cup. After winning the Australian edition, Los Blancos hope to keep that streak going as the season nears the beginning. With some doubts here and there, we’ll still see a great lineup and an interesting match against Inter Milan.
Preferred Formation: 4-2-3-1
Rafa Benítez’s group keeps gathering an identity as time goes by. The players are slowly, but steadily grasping his philosophy. Even so, there’s still a lot to work on before the squad works like a well oiled machine. This system is giving order to the players, especially from the midfield back. In attack, we see all the weight of it on the four men in the front. In addition, pressuring the rival and staying organized are essential tasks.
GK: Keylor Navas
Though Kiko Casilla has been training for a few days now, Navas has a bit of an advantage. However, the Costa Rican should be aware that meritocracy will play an important part with the new manager.
Dani Carvajal started against Manchester City on Friday. With more training sessions in the bag, it’s time to see how the Brazilian responds from the get-go. These two men will maintain a healthy and intense competition.
CB: Raphaël Varane
Seeing that the Pepe-Ramos pair featured a few days ago, it’s more likely that Varane will play in order to keep the minutes balanced. His speed will come in handy against the skillful Inter attackers.
CB: Sergio Ramos
The captain was being treated of a minor injury after the last win, which is why he didn’t pick up the trophy. Nevertheless, we expect him to be ready for this one. His transfer drama might reach a conclusion, as Florentino Pérez has joined them in China.
The Brazilian continues to have the upper hand in his particular duel. The left wing is usually all his, since Ronaldo moves constantly to the center. This responsibility is one that he’s going to have to get used to.
Luka Modrić and Illarramendi had some physical problems after the Australian leg wrapped up. Because of this, it’s possible Rafa won’t take any risks and resort to his best alternative from the bench.
LCM: Toni Kroos
The German continues to be the heart of the team. It will be intriguing to see him play with a different style of midfielder next to him. Casemiro brings a lot more muscle and strength, giving Toni a chance to participate in attack.
While James Rodríguez has returned from his vacation, it’s too soon to force him in and risk an injury. Consequently, Isco will start once again as he was a prominent player in Friday’s win.
CAM: Gareth Bale
The Welsh is gradually reaching his best version. Still adapting to the new position, we see him be much more important throughout the matches. Last season he was often MIA for long periods during games.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
There’s no doubt that the Chinese crowd is paying to see him. Therefore, it’s certain he will play from the start. We already saw him score his first goal of the preseason, and once he does, he normally keeps on scoring.
ST: Karim Benzema
He scored a beautiful goal against City, despite all the rumors and commentary about a possible exit. Benítez has implemented a new system and tends to like other types of strikers, yet Benzema has shown he’s capable of being his guy.