How Real Madrid Will Line Up V Manchester United in International Champions Cup

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2014

DALLAS, TX - JULY 29:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid during a Guinness International Champions Cup 2014 game at Cotton Bowl on July 29, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid's American pre-season continues with a match in Detroit against Manchester United on Saturday, with Carlo Ancelotti suggesting Cristiano Ronaldo could play against his former club, per The Guardian:

“He [Ronaldo] did two sessions today and he is working well on his own,” Ancelotti said at a news conference on Tuesday after Real were beaten 1-0 by Roma in a friendly at the International Champions Cup in Dallas.

“Let’s see if in the next few days he can train with the team and can play against Manchester,” added the Italian. “We have to be careful, right now we have to be calm.”

With the European Super Cup against Sevilla just 11 days away—it will be played on August 12 in Cardiff—Ancelotti will be keen to get as many of his stars back into action as soon as possible.

In Los Blancos' first friendly against Inter Milan, which they won on penalties, there were lots of the club's younger players involved, while that was less so the case in the recent 1-0 defeat against Roma.

The match with United should, therefore, signal another shift up the gears for Madrid—and Ronaldo's inclusion would signal just that.

After a disappointing World Cup with Portugal, the 29-year-old linked up with the squad in Los Angeles this past week and began training in a bid to put the injury troubles behind him that plagued him at the end of last season.

Real Madrid side against Roma
Real Madrid side against RomaRonald Martinez/Getty Images

Selfie on the pitch with Isco
Selfie on the pitch with IscoRonald Martinez/Getty Images

However, as reported by the Real Madrid website, he was still training on his own on Thursday, so he may play a role from the bench against his former club on Saturday.

Gareth Bale, on the other hand, is much further down the line in terms of fitness, having played in Madrid's two International Champions Cup fixtures to date, and he will almost certainly start against his former Premier League rivals.

Some of the clubs World Cup stars are still to link up with the squad, meaning the likes of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos won't feature in Detroit, while Fabio Coentrao has returned to Madrid due to the imminent birth of his child.

It leaves Ancelotti with the option of Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas in goal, with the two likely to play one half each.

Across the back four, if the Madrid boss opts for his strongest available side, he could go with Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Pepe and either Nacho Fernandez or Alvaro Arbeloa at left-back, filling in for the absent Coentrao and Marcelo.

Luka Modric, Xabi Alonso and Asier Illarramendi are in all in contention to start in midfield, with an array of younger options also available.

Bale against Inter
Bale against InterEzra Shaw/Getty Images

Ronaldo watched the Roma game
Ronaldo watched the Roma gameUSA TODAY Sports

As against Roma, Bale will possibly link up with Isco and one of Lucas or Raul de Tomas in a front three which will be lacking the majority of punch which is expected to make it so successful over the next 10 months.

However, depending on how he trains on Friday, Ancelotti may feel inclined to include Ronaldo from the off.

It won't hurt if he can only complete 45 minutes, and it would be a big boost ahead of the new season kicking off later this month—Ronaldo will probably be pushing for a start against his old teammates.


Possible Madrid XI: Casillas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Nacho; Alonso, Illarramendi, Modric; Bale, Isco, Ronaldo