Tuesday’s 2014 UEFA Super Cup will see Champions League winner, Real Madrid, face off against the Europa League champion, Sevilla, at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Both teams will look to flaunt new players in this season’s first trophy-op. While the costliness of Madrid’s new additions has been highly touted, Sevilla’s Beto assured those at a press conference on Monday that Sevilla has the capacity to come out victorious against the favored Real squad.
The popular headliners leading up to Tuesday’s match have focused on Real’s Gareth Bale and recent signee, James Rodríguez. After scoring the game-winner against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League final, Bale will be looking forward to playing this year’s UEFA Super Cup in his hometown, Cardiff.
Golden Boot recipient, Rodríguez, will make his $108 million debut with Real after coming off a phenomenal World Cup performance. The player caps Real’s prime attacking unit, which now consists of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale and Rodríguez. Though Ronaldo has been battling a nuisance of a knee injury since last season, the player is still expected to appear on Carlo Ancelloti’s starting lineup.
Also making his debut with Real is Germany’s Toni Kroos. The former Bayern Munich player was a critical part of Germany’s champion performance in Brazil, and his reputation of being one of football’s most efficient passers will undoubtedly prove fruitful for Real’s offense on Tuesday. However, despite all the glam that surrounds Real’s shiny new toys, Sevilla remain confident that they can give a good showing against the Champions League winners.
In a press conference on Monday, Beto said that he believes in Sevilla’s talent and that his squad needs to come out on Tuesday to “enjoy the game.” The goalkeeper also went on to note that Real will always be favored to win. That being said, Beto followed up by explaining how a great deal of focus and hard work can result in Sevilla handing Real defeat. Projected newcomers to start for Sevilla are Denis Suárez, Iago Aspas, and Grzegorz Krychowiak.
Real defender, Alvaro Arbeloa, echoed Beto’s sentiments on the need for hard work and focus by pointing out an inevitability of the beginning of the season: each team’s lack of fitness. However, for Arbeloa, the disadvantage that both teams share in this respect has the potential to make for some entertaining football. “Neither team is at full fitness and we’ll certainly see more chances than there are in a European final,” Arbeloa said.
Real has not won a Super Cup since 2002 and will go into tomorrow’s match without Xabi Alonso, who was unable to appeal a one-game suspension. Alonso was suspended after incurring a yellow card against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinal. During Real’s final against Atlético, a suspended Alonso rushed onto the field in celebration after Bale scored the game-winning goal in extra time. The incident landed Alonso another game suspension, and as a result, the player will be absent from Real’s Super Cup match against Sevilla.
Tuesday’s match marks the first all-Spanish UEFA Super Cup since 2006, where Sevilla emerged victorious against Barcelona 3-0. This year, Real Madrid and Sevilla will look to tomorrow’s match as an opportunity to head into season with a trophy under their belts. The game will take place Tuesday, August 12 at 11:45 PST, and will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.
Commentary by Courtney Anderson