International Champions Cup 2013: Biggest X-Factors in Real Madrid vs. Chelsea

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVAugust 7, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - JULY 21:  Andre Schurrle of Chelsea in action during the match between Chelsea and Malaysia XI on July 21, 2013 at the Shah Alam Stadium in Shah Alam, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)
Stanley Chou/Getty Images

The 2013 International Champions Cup will conclude Wednesday when Real Madrid takes on Chelsea for the championship match, and it's filled with x-factors ready to put their teams on top in Miami.

With both of these squads looking to improve on 2012-13 campaigns that could've been better in many respects, Real Madrid and Chelsea are coming off coaching changes and have every reason in the world to come out competing hard on Wednesday.

We know the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard and more will shine as they usually do, but it's the x-factors that decide matches like this.

Let's take a look at the biggest x-factors in the upcoming championship match.


Andre Schuerrle, Chelsea

The 22-year-old phenom has made a big splash in London since arriving back in April.

Coming from Bayer Leverkusen, many expected Schuerrle to take a back seat in Chelsea's attack and that may still be the case when the Premier League season begins. But in the Champions Cup, he's been hard to stop and nearly dominant at times. 

He came up with a big-time goal in Chelsea's 2-0 victory over AC Milan in their winners' bracket matchup, proving he can make an impact against world-class clubs.

Schuerrle will need to do more of the same on Wednesday, but the problem is Spanish giants Real Madrid stand in the way. Not only are they an elite club, they are one of the best in the business, and they boast one of the most sound defensive units. 


Diego Lopez, Real Madrid

Although star goalkeeper Iker Casillas graced the roster for Real Madrid in the Champions Cup and has picked up starts, manager Carlo Ancelotti continues to nurture the hot hand, as Diego Lopez has found playing time yet again.

It's paid off so far for Ancelotti, as Lopez came up with a couple of big saves that kept Madrid's tight 2-1 lead secure throughout their semifinal win over Everton. He came in as relief for Casillas in the 46th minute. 

At times in the second half, Everton looked poised to equalize if it weren't for Lopez deflecting anything that had a shot at going in.

Against Chelsea's potent attack, this will be even more important as he'll have the likes of Hazard, Schuerrle, Oscar and more flying at him in an attempt to notch an all-important goal against the stout defense of Madrid.

Assuming he gets the start over Casillas or has to defend another second-half attack, look for Lopez to make a big impact on this match, for better or worse. 


Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea

Captain of the Serbian national team, the 29-year-old has been relied on as a staple in the central-defense spot and that continues to be the case in the United States so far. 

His leadership has paid off in Chelsea's back line, prompting Mourinho to claim he's not for sale, despite suitors, like Paris Saint-Germain and others, lining up at the door for his services. 

It's no wonder why. He had a breakout season with the Blues in 2012-13, proving that he can be a long-term fit in the club's back line.

He'll have to prove that prowess on Wednesday against a potent attack of Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and others that have been scoring at will.

Expect Ivanovic's ability to keep Madrid out of the box to be a major x-factor in the match. 


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