Real Madrid collected their first win of the 2016 International Champions Cup after beating Chelsea 3-2 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Saturday.
Marcelo netted twice for the reigning European champions, but it was youngster Mariano Diaz who stole the headlines with his 30-yard thunderbolt before substitute Eden Hazard pulled back a late brace for the Blues.
The Spanish titans held a much stronger account of their abilities after losing to Ligue 1 titleholders Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, as manager Antonio Conte's side had been miles off the pace.
There was a massive crowd in attendance to take in the five-goal thriller in Michigan—evidence of the growing appeal of the sport in the United States:
Marcelo scored the only goal for his side en route to Wednesday's 3-1 loss against PSG, and the Brazilian was back, proving his attacking worth in no time against Saturday's Premier League foes.
The left-back embarked upon a terrific run from defence, shimmying his way past Willian with a drop of the shoulder before cutting onto his right foot and looping a shot past Asmir Begovic. Bet365 noted the South American was building an impressive head of steam in pre-season:
Marco Asensio contributed in the build-up to Marcelo's opener, and the 20-year-old was even more influential in weaving the space necessary for his team-mate to add the second.
A swift one-two on the touchline gave Marcelo the room needed to breeze through the Blues defence, and fan account Chelsea HQ pointed to youngster Ola Aina (19) as one who was struggling in particular:
Whereas Conte's weak links looked like headless chickens at times, it was difficult to pick one in the Real lineup, with 22-year-old Mariano taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded to him.
Marcelo passed the ball to the Dominican international, who unleashed a long-range strike that Begovic had little chance of stopping. Even Chelsea's official Twitter account was forced to heap praise:
Squawka took note of Marcelo's match-defining contribution at half-time:
Chelsea boss Conte took steps toward quelling the flood of goals by taking Begovic off in place of regular Blues No. 1 Thibaut Courtois at half-time, while Nathaniel Chalobah, Juan Cuadrado and new signing Michy Batshuayi followed five minutes later.
Asensio came off with just less than 30 minutes remaining after impressing in his display. Brace-scorer Marcelo and Alvaro Morata (who had a quiet performance) followed shortly thereafter.
Pedro was also fairly unnoticeable for Chelsea and was hauled off near the 70-minute mark. Eden Hazard replaced him, full of intent to make this season under Conte a much more successful one than 2015-16.
It didn't take the substitutes long to link up either. Chalobah lobbed a through ball to Hazard, who took the ball around Real's stopper before converting into an open net, much to the applause of The Sun's Justin Allen:
Conte will have taken note of the steelier approach his side showcased in the second period, where Hazard, Batshuayi and Victor Moses all showed promise going forward with the ball.
Batshuayi also added an impetus moving forward with the ball, and the £32 million signing helped craft almost a carbon copy of Hazard's first goal for his compatriot to bring the deficit down to one in injury time. Video blogger George Benson highlighted the positive spin made by the west Londoners in the second half:
Chelsea have a quick three-day turnaround before they travel to Minnesota for their final International Champions Cup appearance against Italian powerhouse Milan on Wednesday.
There won't be much rest for Los Blancos either, who are scheduled to meet Bayern Munich in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on the same day, hoping they can inject some pace into their 2016 ICC quest.
There were plenty of lessons for both managers to learn in the wake of Saturday's result, but the post-match press conference took an almost inevitable turn toward the transfer window.
However, Fox Sports reporter Paul M. Banks relayed that Conte wasn't giving anything anyway regarding who might come into the club or who could leave:
The biggest deal of Real's summer thus far has been their re-signing of former striker Morata, but Zidane told the media "anything could happen" before the transfer deadline, via Goal.com:
I think that we've got the best squad in the world, but we've got to prove it and that's what we're working on. Up until 31 August anything can happen. There are players who could end up going out and nothing is done and dusted.
I'm happy with the players I've got. We're working hard and that's very important for a coach, it's the most important thing. I've got to work the talent in this squad. My press conferences might be a bit boring because I always say the same thing, but it's important to prepare well for the season.
After spending more than £60 million on striker Batshuayi and midfield man N'Golo Kante, there could be more business in the immediate future for Chelsea, while Real also look capable of making move in the next month.