The domestic competition in countries like England, Spain, Italy and others have just started, and we have already seen some interesting clashes too. Now, it is time to gear up for the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy, as Real Madrid play host to Fiorentina on Wednesday. It is La Liga giants taking on the Serie A club.
It is an annual match played in memory of long-time president Santiago Bernabeu, with Real Madrid having won the title 26 times. Real Madrid, who have won the title in the last 11 occasions, will once again head into the match as favourite. With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, who might be serving a La Liga ban, set to play in the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy, Real will try to make it 12th win on a trot.
Though this might be termed as friendly, both teams will use this match to get players back to full fitness and also try different combinations if possible. However, both Real Madrid and Fiorentina will also have their eyes on the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy. Real coach Zinedine Zidane is looking to give game time to his players as well.
"It's an important game for the fans. This year it falls after the first LaLiga matchday and we'll be trying to deliver a good performance, but above all, we'll be looking to ensure that the players get more playing time under their belts," Real Madrid official website quoted Zidane as saying.
"We're in good shape fitness-wise and there are players like Cristiano Ronaldo who are going to start the game and play the full 90 minutes. We want the trophy to remain here and we're aiming to put in a good performance."
Though Cristiano is playing, it will be interesting to see the team, which Zidane fields against Fiorentina. With Ronaldo not available for La Liga matches, it looks sensible. One expects Zidane to use his squad depth to field a decent squad. Real will face Valencia on Sunday, for which the coach will need some players fresh as well.
As for Fiorentina, the timing of this match looks weird, especially after their loss against Inter Milan in their first Serie A match. They will have to travel to Madrid, play a match and again head back to Italy for a domestic match. This might be testing on most of these players, so it will be interesting to see if Fiorentina will rest their key men. Players like Marcos Llorente, Dani Ceballos could start for Real.
Fiorentina manager Stefano Pioli could hand German Pezella and Cristiano Biraghni their club debut, and a tough night is expected when Ronaldo and co. come looking for goals. Goalkeeoper Marco Sportiello could be in for a busy night as well. The likes of Giovanni Simeone will look to find the back of the net.
Overall, it might be a long night for Fiorentina.
Where to watch live
Real Madrid vs Fiorentina clash for the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy 2017 is scheduled for 10:45 pm local time, 2:15 IST, 4:45 pm ET. Tv and Live streaming options are as follows.
India: No coverage
International: Tv: RMTV: Live streaming: Real Madrid TV
Italy: Canale 5
China: Sina Sports, PPTV Sport China