International Champions Cup: Real Madrid v Barcelona Preview

International Champions Cup: Real Madrid v Barcelona


Our football writer previews the International Champions Cup match between Real Madrid and Barcelona which takes place on Sunday. 

Two of the most successful football clubs in the world, Barcelona and Real Madrid, lock horns in an International Champions Cup clash on Sunday. This is a highly emotional match characterised by heated moments, red cards and lots of goals. When the Catalans meet Los Blancos, the word “friendly” is non-existent with pride as well as a psychological edge ahead of the new season at stake.

Real Madrid | Sunday 30 July | Hard Rock Stadium | 1:30

To Win (90 Mins)
Real Madrid 15/10 | Draw 5/2| Barcelona 31/20

Real Madrid
The 2016/17 campaign was one to remember for Real Madrid who won the La Liga and became the first team to claim UEFA Champions League title for a consecutive season. The last time these sides met, though, Real Madrid succumbed 3-2 to the Catalans towards the end of the season, handing Zinedine Zidane his first El Clasico defeat. Before the loss, he had played to a 1-1 draw and won his first Clasico 2-1 thus becoming the first Real Madrid manager to win his first Clasico match since Bernd Schuster in December 2007.

Madrid’s form in this preseason tournament has been poor without Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos. They have suffered back-to-back defeats against Manchester clubs, being smashed 4-1 by Manchester City and losing 2-1 to Manchester United on penalties after regulation time ended with the scores tied at 1-1, however, it has to be noted that Zidane is not playing for results as he makes wholesale changes to his line ups in the second half of these matches.

With that being said I don’t see him not going all out for a victory against his bitter rivals. This is their third friendly and he wouldn’t want to lose a third straight game. He probably has found a winning combination or at least players who can deliver in the absence of Ronaldo and Ramos. It must also be noted that the departure of Pepe, Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez has left the team with no depth and that has to be corrected soon.



Barcelona
The Catalans have taken this tournament very seriously with the new manager Ernesto Valverde fielding his strongest possible starting eleven. They have won both their opening games, defeating Manchester United 1-0 and overcoming Juventus 2-1. It seems like the new man in charge is settling in well.

The momentum built should help them going into this encounter and they need all the psychological impact they can get to bounce back after a below average 2016/17 and losing their manager Luis Enrique.

In terms of head-to-head statistics for this clash, Real Madrid have won 93 competitive matches to Barcelona’s 91 but when we include friendlies it’s 110-97 to Barcelona which highlights how seriously Barca takes every match they play.

Verdict: Barcelona Win (27/20) 
The match will be full of goals with both sides finding the back of the net but Barcelona look the better side at present. The absence of Ronaldo and Ramos is also a big factor. Take the Catalan giants to come out on top. 

Written by Benedict Ngwenya for @Hollywoodbets.net

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