AUDI CUP | REAL MADRID - TOTTENHAM
Bale’s opportunity to shine
Both Cristiano and Karim Benzema are missing through injury. The Audi Cup features: Real Madrid, Bayern, AC Milan and Tottenham.
Cristiano Ronaldo returned from the Jorge Mendes wedding with lumbago. He carried out a light recuperation training session but was not deemed fit enough to travel to Germany. Bad luck. Benzema didn’t go to the Porto wedding but reported back to the club duty with a strange muscular strain picked up during three days off. There’s nothing to suggest that the mysterious injury coincides with growing reports of interest from Arsenal. Both players are out of the Audi Cup which gets underway this evening in Munich when Real Madrid face Tottenham (kick-off 1815 CET).
With two thirds of the ‘BBC’ out via injury, the spotlight falls on Gareth Bale. This could be his day. A game against his former club with a goal from the Welsh player overdue during the current pre-season campaign. Madrid have found the net on seven occasions with Bale yet to score. With no Cristiano nor Benzema, we’ll have to wait and see if Benítez plays him in a central attacking role.
This is proving to be a major headache for Benítez. The fans are desperate to see Isco in the Madrid starting XI. This evening is easy for the coach with no Cristiano or Benzema. But the question mark over both Bale’s and Isco’s optimum starting positions prevails. With the Welshman in the center Madrid player at a higher tempo; but with Isco there is more depth to their style. Tonight’s test against Tottenham is one of the last few pre-season opportunities left for Benítez to make his mind up.
Both Marco Asensio and Borja Mayoral (Euro U-19 winners) are included in the squad for Germany. Benítez is expected to give both playing time in both games and it will serve as an interesting test to evaluate both young talents.
The Audi Cup is a prestigious four team competition (Madrid, Bayern, Milan y Tottenham) and is certainly what plenty would like to see of the Trofeo Bernabéu (still without a date). The quality of the opponents will help in testing the early positive signs which this Real Madrid has started to generate: strong defensively, looking good tactically and with seven goals.