Real Madrid win Supercopa de Espana! (RMA 5-1 BAR AGG)

Even without Cristiano, Real Madrid  easily completed a Supercopa de Espana triumph over Barcelona.

A ruthless first-half performance ended any hope of a Barcelona comeback in the Supercopa de Espana, the Catalans falling to a 2-0 second-leg defeat to lose 5-1 on aggregate against Madrid.

Marco Asensio wasted no time as he spectacularly fired the home side in front after four minutes on Wednesday, with Madrid dominating a team still adapting to life after Neymar.

Barca found goal-scoring opportunities hard to come by and Karim Benzema outwitted Samuel Umtiti to double Madrid’s lead on the night shortly before half-time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The headlines after the first leg were dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic cameo, which culminated in a five-match ban following his petulant shove on the referee, but this was a thoroughly professional job from the European champions.

Barcelona improved after the interval – Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both hit the woodwork – but their Neymar-less future remains a concerning work in progress for new boss Ernesto Valverde, as the club continue their pursuit of a suitable and – on this evidence – much-needed replacement. Those efforts may take on greater urgency after Suarez appeared to hobble through the closing stages.

With Ronaldo suspended and Gareth Bale and Isco on the bench, Lucas Vazquez and Asensio were selected to flank Benzema in attack, and the latter picked up where he left off at the end of Sunday’s first leg.

Having hammered home Madrid’s third from the edge of the box at Camp Nou, it took Asensio just four minutes to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen from even further out in Madrid, firing in a wonderful 25-yard strike that left the German goalkeeper flat-footed.

While Madrid’s tweaked attacking trident made a flying start, the missing ‘N’ in Barcelona’s ‘MSN’ forward line was glaringly obvious after 10 minutes.

Valverde opted for a new-look 3-5-2 formation and Suarez perhaps forgot he was shorn of an attacking comrade when he squared for nobody in the box.

Keen to match the efforts of his colleague on the opposite flank, Vazquez curled a shot against the inside of the left-hand post shortly after the half-hour mark, as Barca struggled to create chances for Suarez and Messi.

Madrid netted their deserved second seven minutes from the break.

Benzema’s quick-thinking exposed Umtiti’s laboured defending and the striker latched on to a Marcelo ball into the box to smash home from close range.

Keylor Navas – making his 100th Madrid appearance – did not have a save to make in the first half, but he showed good reactions to get down and intercept a Suarez cutback early in the second.

Barca were showing signs of life and Messi saw an effort crash off the underside of the crossbar before Suarez went close with two headers – the second bouncing off the foot of the post after Navas had parried a fierce Messi drive.

But Madrid were comfortable with their four-goal aggregate advantage, and Barca’s mini-recovery proved fruitless on a night when they were outplayed by their fiercest rivals for the most part.

Supercopa de España: Barcelona 1 – 3 Real Madrid

Real Madrid destroyed Barcelona 3-1 in the Supercopa de España first leg thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Asensio’s wondergoals.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning winner before being sent off for a dive in Real Madrid’s Supercopa de Espana first-leg win over Barca.

The Portugal star came off the bench to blast home the third goal of the visitors’ 3-1 win at Camp Nou but earned a second yellow card for going to ground in the penalty area two minutes later, having earlier been booked for taking his shirt off in celebration.

Zinedine Zidane’s side took the lead early in the second half through an own goal from Gerard Pique but Barca levelled thanks to Lionel Messi’s penalty, which was won in controversial fashion by Luis Suarez.

Ronaldo put Madrid back ahead with a spectacular strike but was dismissed within two minutes of that goal and risked further punishment when he pushed the referee in the back before departing the field.

Barca pushed for a second equaliser late on but were undone by Marco Asensio’s brilliant strike on the break, meaning they have it all to do at the Santiago Bernabeu next Wednesday in the first Supercopa tie between these sides since 2012.

Barca had the upper hand in the early exchanges, with Suarez testing Keylor Navas from just inside the area and Dani Carvajal was perhaps fortunate to escape being penalised for handball when blocking Gerard Deulofeu’s cross.

Neither side looked prepared to commit to the attack in a rather tepid first half and Gareth Bale saw the clearest chance saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen from inside the penalty area following Isco’s jinking run.

Pique – who scored the winner when these teams met in the International Champions Cup last month – had been booked for attempting to punch the ball towards goal following a corner in the first half and it was another moment of ignominy for the centre-back that gave Madrid the lead five minutes after the break.

Marcelo ran onto Isco’s pass down the left and sent a low cross into box, and Pique steered the ball into his own net on the slide as he attempted to clear it for a corner.

Barca suddenly looked unsteady at the back and it took a brilliant sliding block from Jordi Alba to prevent Carvajal from making it 2-0 after some brilliant work from Karim Benzema.

Valverde introduced Denis Suarez from the bench and the move almost paid off immediately, the midfielder’s corner headed goalwards by Luis Suarez only for Navas to make a fine one-handed save.

Ronaldo, on in place of Benzema, had a shot blocked behind by Pique and the assistant referee’s raised flag denied him when he did find the net following Casemiro’s throughball.

The 32-year-old took full advantage of his next chance, though, playing a one-two with Isco to set up a counter-attack before cutting inside Pique and firing into the top-right corner from 20 yards.

Ronaldo was booked for removing his shirt and then stunningly dismissed after being adjudged to have gone to ground too easily in the area under pressure from Samuel Umtiti.

But the incident could not prevent Madrid seizing control of the tie, Asensio rifling home an unstoppable third from the edge of the area to get watching president Florentino Perez onto his feet.

UEFA Super Cup champions!

Casemiro and Isco gave Real Madrid a 2-1 UEFA Super Cup win over Manchester United.

Real Madrid claimed the UEFA Super Cup with a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in Skopje, Macedonia on Tuesday.

Goals from Casemiro and Isco secured a fully-deserved triumph for the Champions League holders, who have now won the trophy three times since 2014.

Romelu Lukaku halved the deficit on his competitive debut, but the Europa League winners looked well short of matching Madrid for much of the encounter in a hot and humid Philip II Arena, where drinks breaks were required.

United beat Madrid on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the International Champions Cup last month, but they were second best for the majority against Zinedine Zidane’s side, for whom Gareth Bale started and Cristiano Ronaldo made a late cameo appearance as a substitute.

Jose Mourinho handed first competitive starts to Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof, but it looked unlikely that he would celebrate a win over his old club from the moment Casemiro broke the deadlock after 24 minutes.

Isco’s superb second put Madrid in control in the second half and, although Lukaku gave United some hope of a comeback, Zidane’s side held firm to win their sixth trophy since the Frenchman took charge last January.

United looked the more settled in the early exchanges, but it was Madrid who came closest to breaking the deadlock, with Bale – heavily linked with the Red Devils of late –  prodding a volley over from six yards before Casemiro rattled the crossbar from a Toni Kroos corner.

Madrid were slowly taking control of proceedings and they made the most of their superiority – and a debatable offside decision – after 24 minutes.

Dani Carvajal, given far too much space 30 yards from goal, clipped a fine pass into Casemiro’s path and the Brazilian steered a fine first-time finish into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards out, although replays showed he had strayed just beyond the United defence too early.

David de Gea saved well from a low Karim Benzema effort, as Madrid looked content to sit back and hit United on the break towards the end of the half, with Mourinho’s men unable to fashion any service for Lukaku aside from a deep cross that he headed straight at Keylor Navas.

Mourinho introduced Marcus Rashford for Jesse Lingard at half-time, but Madrid threatened a second more or less from kick-off, with De Gea making a terrific one-handed save to keep out Kroos’ rasping effort from 20 yards.

But De Gea was helpless against Isco after 52 minutes, the Spain international playing a simple one-two with Bale that carved the United defence in two before slotting the ball beneath the goalkeeper and into the net.

United responded immediately with their best chance of the match, Paul Pogba’s header bringing a fine reaction save out of Navas before Lukaku, who was offside, blasted over the crossbar on the rebound with the goal gaping.

Bale hit a shot off the underside of the bar as Madrid pushed confidently forward, but Lukaku grabbed a lifeline for United when he tapped home after Navas parried Matic’s shot straight into his path.

Navas made a brilliant stop to deny Rashford one-on-one before De Gea made a stunning save to keep out Marco Asensio’s effort, but Madrid held firm in seven minutes of stoppage time to claim the trophy and lay down a marker to the continent.

Bale <-> De Gea swap incoming?

Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez is willing to negotiate with Manchester United over a transfer for Gareth Bale if the Red Devils include David De Gea in any talks, claims Don Balon.

It has been reported that Bale’s position in the team is not assured under Zinedine Zidane, with Jose Mourinho allegedly waiting in the wings to come in with a £90 million offer for the Welshman.

Gareth Bale has told his Real Madrid teammate Luka Modri? that he wants to return to the Premier League with Manchester United.

Zidane not worried about Bale’s performance

The Wales international was forced out of Tuesday’s training session because of an ankle complaint, but his coach played down its severity.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insists that he is not worried about Gareth Bale’s fitness after the Wales star picked up a knock in training.

Bale was seen departing Madrid’s session at Soldier Field on Tuesday with obvious discomfort in his right ankle.

The 28-year-old missed long spells of last season with calf and ankle problems and the latest worry prompted concern among supporters on social media, with the UEFA Super Cup clash with Manchester United just a week away.

However, Zidane is confident that Bale has been showing encouraging signs both in terms of fitness and form during pre-season.

“He looks good to me, little by little,” he told a news conference ahead of Madrid’s clash with an MLS All-Star team on Wednesday. “He’s had a long injury.

“The pre-season has been very good since the beginning. I’m not worried about his performance, because the whole team has had good moments and not as good moments.”

ICC: Real Madrid 2 – 3 Barcelona

Barcelona claimed the International Champions Cup after prevailing 2-3 in a thrilling El Clasico encounter against their bitter rivals Real Madrid.

The US version of the pre-season tournament went to Barca thanks to Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique on Saturday amid the growing uncertainty over Neymar’s future at Camp Nou.

It was far from a friendly clash at Hard Rock Stadium as Barca and LaLiga-Champions League titleholders Madrid went head-to-head on American soil, the former storming out the blocks.

Goals from Rakitic and Messi put Barca 2-0 up inside seven minutes but Mateo Kovacic reduced the deficit shortly after and Marco Asensio equalised nine minutes before half-time.

Gerard Pique restored Barca’s lead in the 50th minute as Barca beat Manchester City to the ICC trophy, while Madrid ended the tournament without a victory.

Sergio Ramos took to the field for the first time during pre-season as Zinedine Zidane named his strongest XI minus the absent Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos, with Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric headlining the side.

Barca also fielded a strong line-up, Ernesto Valverde including Paris Saint-Germain target Neymar, Messi, Luis Suarez, Iniesta and Pique.

There was an early scare as Neymar hobbled off the field in the second minute with an apparent ankle injury but he made his way back onto the pitch as Barca broke the deadlock.

Messi dribbled into the box, cut past Modric and curled the ball past Keylor Navas, albeit with some help from a deflection.

It got better for Barca four minutes later when Rakitic drilled a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Neymar used the outside of his boot to flick the ball to Suarez, who dummied it through to Rakitic and the Croatian finished powerfully to leave Madrid stunned.

Out of sorts early, Madrid managed to halt Barcelona’s momentum against the run of play after Kovacic arrowed a fierce shot past Jasper Cillessen in the 15th minute.

Neymar almost got in on the action following Suarez’s run out wide but the Brazil international’s shot went just wide of the post after his dizzying control to beat Raphael Varane.

Madrid continued to live dangerously as Messi weaved his way into the penalty area, however Navas was quick to deny the Argentine star.

But Madrid capitalised on the counter-attack to draw level in the 36th minute after Asensio played the ball to Kovacic and received it back before finishing coolly inside the near post.

Barca reclaimed the lead five minutes into the second half as Neymar and team-mate Pique linked up.

After a winning the free-kick, Neymar whipped in a teasing delivery and an unmarked Pique lost his opponent before volleying into the net.

It should have been a fourth for Barca in the 55th minute after Neymar rounded Navas but he fired wide following some fancy work from Messi, while Suarez was denied by the Costa Rican moments later and Samuel Umtiti had his shot cleared off the line.

At the other end, Isco drove forward and tried to find the bottom corner but Cillessen used his outstretched arm to keep Barca ahead.

The wave of second-half substitutions caused a lull in the match but Isco almost brought the game back to life when he forced Cillessen into another fine save.

ICC: Manchester City 4 – 1 Real Madrid

Danilo made his Man City debut as Kevin De Bruyne led his team to a shocking 4-1 win over Real Madrid at the International Champions Cup.

Danilo, signed for a reported £26.5million earlier this month, started on the left against his former club at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

It took until the second half for City and De Bruyne to come to life on Wednesday.

De Bruyne had a hand in the first three goals – his corner eventually leading to Nicolas Otamendi’s opener before he set up Raheem Sterling and John Stones.

The win was sealed by teenage substitute Brahim Diaz, who scored a stunning late goal, which was matched by a screamer from Madrid’s Oscar.

Spain youth international Dani Ceballos made his debut for Madrid, coming off the bench.

Madrid enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, Gareth Bale shooting high and wide before Isco drew a save from Ederson.

City – set up in a 3-5-2 by manager Pep Guardiola – improved as the half wore on and only Keylor Navas denied them a lead.

Sergio Aguero put Gabriel Jesus in behind in the 23rd minute and the Brazilian’s low shot was saved by the feet of Navas.

The Costa Rica international’s next save two minutes later was even better.

Aguero was left in plenty of space in the area and his powerful effort was saved by Navas.

That sparked Madrid into action and Casemiro almost opened the scoring in the 28th minute, his header from an Isco cross hitting the post before Ederson saved from Karim Benzema.

Luka Modric and Benzema almost combined for the opener, and the latter threatened again before half-time, only to be denied by Ederson.

Dani Carvajal wasted a great chance for Madrid early in the second half after a defensive mix-up by City.

But City would go ahead in the 52nd minute via a set-piece.

Stones met De Bruyne’s corner and his header was parried by Kiko Casilla – who replaced Navas at the break – allowing Otamendi to score into an open goal.

After Ederson had smothered at the feet of Casemiro, Sterling – who came on at half-time – flashed a shot across the face of goal.

But Sterling made no mistake with his next chance, placing a finish past Casilla at the goalkeeper’s near post after again combining with De Bruyne.

De Bruyne almost made it 3-0 in stunning fashion, but Casilla palmed his 30-yard free-kick onto the post.

The Belgium international would set up the third, his pass from the right tucked away nicely by Stones in the 67th minute.

Madrid had their chances late on before City’s Diaz, 17, struck with a fine 20-yard effort into the top corner with eight minutes remaining, only for Oscar to score with a spectacular strike from 35 yards.

Real Madrid 1 – 1 Manchester United (Penalties: 1 – 2)

David de Gea showed Real Madrid what they are missing by playing the hero act for Manchester United as they won 2-1 on penalties after a 1-1 International Champions Cup game on Sunday

The Spanish international, a long-time reported target of the Champions League winners, saved spot-kicks from Mateo Kovacic and Oscar before Casemiro hit the crossbar with his shoot-out kick – having scored from 12 yards in normal time – to hand United victory.

United took the lead shortly before half-time thanks to a sensational piece of play from Anthony Martial, the forward jinking away from Dani Carvajal, Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez to give Jesse Lingard the simplest of finishes at the back post.

Casemiro levelled from the penalty spot after Victor Lindelof could only stop a rampaging Theo Hernandez by crashing into him before the Brazilian missed the decisive penalty in a poor shoot-out.

United remain unbeaten in the four matches they have played on their tour of the United States after holding off Madrid in searing temperatures, while the first pre-season match for Zinedine Zidane’s men ended in defeat.

The clubs will soon clash again as Madrid face United in the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje next month.

Lingard was one of two players retained from the United team that beat Manchester City 2-0 on Thursday and he had the first attempt with a shot Keylor Navas had to beat away.

In the stifling Santa Clara heat, the game was played at little more than walking pace, and Lingard bent a 20-yard effort narrowly wide after 40 minutes with Navas well beaten as both teams continued to struggle for attacking momentum at Levi’s Stadium.

But in the first minute of stoppage time, a moment of Martial magic provided the opener.

Brilliant skill from the Frenchman saw him cut inside off the left and evade three Madrid defenders before pulling back a precise low cross that Lingard tapped in from close range.

Zidane changed his entire XI at the interval while Mourinho made eight substitutions including introducing Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba, with Ander Herrera forced off through injury after just five minutes of the second half.

Madrid were handed a glorious chance to level the scores after 68 minutes when a dreadful Lindelof challenge on Hernandez resulted in a penalty.

Casemiro stepped up to smash the spot-kick past De Gea and more penalties were required to find a winner with neither side making a breakthrough after Marouane Fellaini wasted a golden chance with seven minutes to play.

Martial blazed the first kick well over the crossbar before De Gea saved from Kovacic and Kiko Casilla denied Scott McTominay.

De Gea’s save from Oscar allowed Henrikh Mkhitaryan to nudge United ahead but Madrid responded through Luismi Quezado before Lindelof hit his kick straight at Casilla and Hernandez scuffed wide.

Daley Blind converted his kick to pile the pressure on Casemiro, with the Brazilian thudding his effort against the bar to continue United’s fine run in pre-season.

Mbappe, Dolberg and Berardi on the shopping list

Real Madrid have made Ajax striker Kasper Dolberg and Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi their alternative transfer targets if they fail to sign Kylian Mbappe, Marca  reports.

The European champions are in search of a new striker after Alvaro Morata’s move to Chelsea and will target a cheaper option should talks over Mbappe break down. The Italy Under 21 international and the Denmark No.9 would be brought in to play a back up role to their star forwards.


Real Madrid have offered Karim Benzema as part of a deal to sign Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe, according to  The Sun .

Los Blancos are closing in on a deal for the France international, with Benzema part of one of the bids currently on the table.