After a brilliant performance from Barcelona, defeating Real Betis 6-2 on the opening day of the La Liga, rivals Real Madrid will hope to come up with a similar performance as they face Real Sociedad at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on Sunday. Coach Zinedine Zidane is aware of the importance of a great start in the La Liga, which can help them set the tone for the rest of the season.
Real Madrid had a good season last time around, losing only four matches, but it was still not enough to help them win the title. Barcelona pipped Real Madrid by one point, which must have hurt Zidane's team.
The team has had a decent preseason, losing to PSG and Bayern Munich, but registered victories against Chelsea and more importantly defeated Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup.
Zidane is confident about his team's preparations, and wants to see his team attain three points on Sunday.
"We're going into this in good shape, having prepared well. All of our players are raring to get started in La Liga. We all know that this is going to be a difficult year, a year where we will have to fight, and we are all ready to give it our best shot. We have to start well and be strong. We know that the start of the season is complicated. We have a difficult game ahead of us in San Sebastián and it is important to make a good start in La Liga," Real Madrid's official website quoted Zidane as saying.
Hence, one of the most important things for Zidane, ahead of his team's first match, will be his starting eleven. With Cristiano Ronaldo out with an injury, he will look forward to Gareth Bale to shoulder responsibility in the goal-scoring department, alongside Lucas Vazquez and Alvaro Morata.
With experienced players like Toni Kroos, Isco and Sergio Ramos in their squad, Real Madrid should emerge victorious. The coach also talked about this season being an important one for Bale, like others in the team.
"The important thing is that I'm happy with this squad. It will be hard to choose my team but as I say, I'm happy with the squad. Gareth is an important player in this team, and he showed that last year. He wants to keep doing what he's doing and keep making history with this great club. It is an important year for him, as it is for the others," Zidane said.
If Real Madrid's star players fire, it is going to be a difficult for Real Sociedad to show their class in their first game of the season. The hosts will need all their players to shine and star player Carlos Vela needs to deliver to trouble Real Madrid defenders.
Real Sociedad finished in ninth position last season, and will be keen to better their performance this time around. A positive result against Real Madrid can give them immense confidence for the rest of the season ahead.
Zidane believes Sociedad will test Real Madrid on Sunday. "Real Sociedad are a strong team when playing at home, really powerful. We're going to have a difficult, complicated game on our hands. They are a team that plays from the first minute to the last, regardless of what happens," Zidane said.
Where to Watch Live
Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid is scheduled for a 8.15 p.m. local time (11.45 p.m. IST, 2:15 ET) start.
Live TV and streaming information is below.
India TV: Sony Six and Sony Six HD. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
Spain: TV: Canal+ Partidazo, LaLiga TV Bar HD, Movistar+
UK: TV: Sky Sports 1/HD. Live Streaming: Sky Go.
USA, Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia, Middle East, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.