Familiarity will be a key for both Real Madrid and Chelsea when they square off at the International Champions Cup final in Miami on Wednseday.
Blues manager Jose Mourinho recently made the switch back to Chelsea after calling the shots for Madrid over the past few seasons. Likewise, Los Blancos head man Carlo Ancelotti has also spent time as the boss for his opponent in the finale.
That connection provides an interesting storyline for the two elite European sides heading into this friendly tune-up.
While it’s still preseason, the importance of winning a high-profile match like this won’t be understated by the clubs as they prepare to kick off their respective seasons.
"At the moment there are a lot of connections between the clubs, so it will be a very interesting match, but in football there are no friendly matches," Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic said, according to the club’s website.
Let's take a look at some things to follow heading into this championship match.
International Champions Cup Championship Info.
Who: Real Madrid vs. Chelsea
When: Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 9 p.m. ET (2 a.m. GMT)
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.
Watch: ESPN Deportes, FOX Soccer
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go
How They Got There
Real Madrid secured a decisive victory against the L.A. Galaxy, scoring three times to the lone goal of the Americans.
The side followed up that opening-round victory by edging Everton, who squeaked by Italian champion Juventus on penalty kicks to begin their tournament appearance.
Chelsea has yet to be challenged in Miami and are pitching a shutout to this point heading into their championship matchup against Los Blancos.
Mourinho’s new side breezed by Inter 2-0 to begin their bid for the preseason cup championship. They followed that showing up with another 2-0 blanking of Milan in the second round.
Both of these talented clubs are on the verge of competing for their respective league championships this season. This early on they both appear to be near top form as well. That bodes well for the level of play in this championship contest.
You call it:
From a matchup standpoint, you have to imagine that Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing with a little extra fire after recent comments by his former manager.
“I was 30 and I was coaching Ronaldo, not this one [Cristiano], the real one, the Brazilian Ronaldo,” Mourinho said, according to Mark Doyle of Goal.com.
As if Ronaldo, one of the greatest footballers in the world, needs any more motivation to win a significant preseason battle against his former boss.
Things are definitely going to be tight between these two clubs as a result. Their familiarity with one another will help keep things relatively even on the pitch, but expect Ronaldo to score at least once to help Los Blancos notch an important preseason victory.
Real Madrid 2, Chelsea 1