Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt shows that Real Madrid is inevitable – Warmup


If Not Broken

Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t seem like someone who likes to show off. All football managers have big enough egos, of course, otherwise the job would be impossible. The dressing room will eat him alive. But Don Carlo, for the most part, lets his eyebrows do the talking.

UEFA Super Cup

Ancelotti: No doubt Benzema should win the Ballon d’Or after winning the Super Cup


Nevertheless, there is something impressive and a little flashy about Real Madrid sending the same starting XI for the Super Cup last night as they did for last season’s Champions League final. A flex, sort of. A message to all of Europe’s elite: you have to catch up here. We’re okay. We are absolutely 100% sorted.

After all, while it wasn’t a hot summer at the Bernabeu, they’ve done quite a bit of business. Just a little tweaking around the edges. Only Antonio Rudiger, one of the best defenders in the Premier League, and Aurelien Tchouameni, one of the most coveted young midfielders in the world.

And there they were, sitting on the bench, waiting their turn as Madrid did what they did. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, friction free in the middle. Karim Benzema, stalking, shooting, scoring. Fede Valverde, playing three positions at once. A smooth and classy engine, every part of it balanced and perfectly lubricated, that beats without rumbling and accelerates through gears exactly as required.

As for Frankfurt, they managed not to lose 6-1 for the second time in a week, so it should be noted their progress. In a sense, their season starts now: past Bayern Munich, past Real Madrid, trying and making the best of some normal football matches. But it’s a bit sad to see Frankfurt line up with Filip Kostic, whose brilliance did a lot to get them into this game. This happens a lot with the Super Cup. Half of these matches will retain all their good players over the summer. The other half will be taken apart.

And what about Rome? The Super Cup is a two-team celebration of what is now, thanks to the Conference League, the continent’s three champions. For all of last night’s game having a certain nostalgic value – the first meeting these two sides since the first European Cup final – it’s hard to get away from the thought that the game against Roma might be a bit more fun for a neutral crowd. . A closer contest for Frankfurt, and a narrative-laden Mourinhology festival for Madrid.

The obvious solution is for all three teams to play three-sided football. The real solution, we presume, is that UEFA will eventually turn the Super Cup into a triangular tournament, to be hosted somewhere rich and warm every summer, which will have a knock-on effect by folding this trophy completely into pre-season and thereby robbing it. . how little prestige he had now. But whatever happens, we’re pretty sure that Kroos and Modric will still be there, youthful and relentless, passing the ball back and forth between them until the win comes, as it always does.


In today’s issue of What The Hell Is Going On At Barcelona, ​​we finally have a partial answer to one of the most pressing Warm-up questions: what really happens if Barcelona can’t register all their new players?

A partial answer, anyway. It appears the players who signed free transfers – namely Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen – have a clause that allows them to immediately reverse course if Barcelona cannot convince La Liga they can pay it. There’s no suggestion that they wanted to, of course, although perhaps Manchester United had sent Kessie a fruit basket with a small note just in case. (“Dear Insert Name Here. We understand that you are a midfielder. We have a vacancy that may be of interest…”)

It’s been interesting watching Barcelona this summer, but even more exciting is the parade of players who seem willing to sign on the dotted line. It’s a club, after all, that sells the future to pay for the past; who repeatedly returns to his players and asks them to renegotiate their contracts; and it certainly seems to be waging an ominous propaganda war with any player who doesn’t want to stand in line. Nice renegotiation contract, Frenkie. Too bad if that… wild.

However, the footballer still wants to play for this club. To sign up for this strangely flexible contract. The idea of ​​Barcelona is so strong and persistent that it overrides common sense. It’s almost romantic: a reminder that football isn’t just about getting paid. The Barcelona man said “it’s okay, we’re working on it, we’ve fixed it, that’s okay,” and the footballer’s heart says “oh! that’s all I need to hear”.

But you have to wonder how the failure to register some or all of these new players could affect that. For now, the blame for Barcelona’s problems can be shifted back to the previous regime. The old lot broke it, the new lot fixed it. But failure here will be failure this regime. That means that the things that were said over the summer, on the negotiating table, were not entirely true. That, perhaps, could cause footballers to look with a little more skepticism at future promises.

That’s why it can’t be allowed to happen, of course. That is why economic lever four will be pulled today, or tomorrow, and then five, six, seven after that if necessary. Barcelona has decided that the solution is to stand up and shout, “We are Barcelona!” as loud as possible, and believe me there is enough resonance in that statement to sell the club, to footballers, investors and sponsors. The theory’s first contact with reality came on Saturday, where – with all due respect to Rayo Vallecano – what happens on the team sheet will be far more interesting than anything that happens on the pitch.

Moveable Party

Traveling to the World Cup as a fan is two things: complicated, and expensive. Flights are oversubscribed, accommodation prices soar, and everything you buy in and near stadiums will be marked-up beyond recognition. Before we even get into the particular ethical confusion surrounding Qatar, a trip to the World Cup, with all the reasonable rules for making a holiday, is a ridiculous thing to do with your time and money.

However, at least you can plan a little in advance. The Qatar 2022 schedule was set for July 2020 and confirmed in April this year, following the draw for the group stages. Indeed, FIFA boasted that “Given the congested nature of Qatar, event organizers were able to assign, for the first time, group stage matches to the stadium and kick-off times for each match day following the final draw, optimizing the fixture schedule for the benefit and convenience of spectators, teams, media , and a global audience”.

Now it seems appropriate that this statement came on April 1st. If, as reported, FIFA does advance Qatar vs. Ecuador one day, ensures that the opening ceremony takes place before any match is played and allows the hosts to play the first game, as tradition requires, then it will not be the first match. worst thing about this weird World Cup. Probably won’t break into the top 10.

But it will, we bet, play serious and costly havoc with many of Ecuador’s plans, even if FIFA agrees to cover the outright costs. And more than that, it will have an inescapable symbolic value. A reminder that this is all being created as we walk; repeated insults to poor suckers who actually try to watch this stuff.

On the other hand, tradition is important. And this particular tradition, the hosts playing the opening match, has been an important part of the World Cup since… since… wait, since 2006? Oh come on.


Here’s Dennis Adeniran with an early contender for Traction Engine of the Season. Absolutely no business generates such power from such a position.


Jonathan Wilson has a new book, about the Charlton brothers, and he’s just gone and let the Guardian publish part of it. You can read it for free! Quick, get there before someone knows it.

It’s a fun quote too, about the feud that developed between Bobby Charlton and George Best as the two neared the end of their Manchester United careers. Although “hostility” isn’t fair enough: it’s a clash of personalities, styles, and generations. Charlton, believing that “that young people today seem to shy away from close relationships with older people because it’s part of the concept of a ‘square’ life”, counters Best: “I wish I could hear him say ‘fuck it’, just once”.

“Bobby’s testimony, a goalless draw against Celtic, was held on 18 September 1972. Best refused to play, claiming an injury to his right ankle, although he later said playing would be ‘hypocritical’. He appeared to watch but only lasted five minutes before departing to Brown Bull. There he sat glumly at one of the heavy oak tables, drinking and throwing arrows and two dozen eggs at the portrait of Bobby that hung on the wall.”


By a mysterious coincidence, exactly 32 years since Matt Busby’s testimony at Old Trafford. A proper 11-a-side match was a 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Republic of Ireland XI. But the real treat comes before it: a seven-a-seven Manchester derby featuring players from the past and the past. Skip to the 18th minute if you want to see George Best’s final goal at Old Trafford.


Few more European qualifiers tonight. And the big question is: can Dundee United, who lead 1-0 over AZ Alkmaar, turn a remarkable first-leg win into an aggregate win?

Andi Thomas will be here tomorrow to answer these and other questions.

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