Real Madrid look to keep momentum at Super Cup
Real Madrid want to start the new season the same way they ended the last one - winning a trophy.
Madrid won the Champions League in their final match last season, and today they begin the new season by taking on Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup in Helsinki, Finland.
It will be the teams' first competitive meeting since the 1960 European Cup final, when Madrid won their fifth straight European title at the time with a thrilling 7-3 win at Glasgow's Hampden Park. Ferenc Puskas scored four goals for Madrid and Alfredo Di Stefano got a hat-trick. About 127,000 fans watched the match in what is still the highest attendance for a European Cup final.
Madrid are chasing their fifth Super Cup title, and first since 2017, while Frankfurt will be making a first Super Cup appearance following their shootout victory over Rangers in the Europa League final. That win ended the German club's 42-year wait for a European trophy.
Madrid ended last season on a high after comfortably winning the Spanish league and overcoming poor performances to advance in the knockout stages of the Champions League. They eventually clinched a record 14th European title in the final against Liverpool.
"We will try to win everything possible this season," Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday. "I don't know if we will be able to do it, we know it will be very complicated. But the squad is very good and I have a lot of confidence in my players."
The Spanish powerhouse will be mostly unchanged going into 2022-23, led by Karim Benzema following his best season ever. Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo are also back in an attack that was dominant last season, and the midfield remains anchored by Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. The team's additions come with central defender Antonio Rudiger and midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.
Isco Alarcon and Gareth Bale left after their contracts expired, but the club did not replace them despite the disappointment of failing to sign Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain. Instead Madrid are hoping for another impressive season up front from the 34-year-old Benzema.
"Right now it's impossible to replace Benzema," Ancelotti said. "He is the best striker in the world."
The France striker was the top scorer in the Spanish league and the Champions League. He scored 44 goals in 45 matches with Madrid, and equalled Raul Gonzalez as the club's second-highest scorer with 323 goals, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (451). He is the front-runner to win the player-of-the-year awards for last season.
Frankfurt's season has already started. They routed second-division club Magdeburg 4-0 in the first round of the German Cup, then lost 6-1 at home to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga opener on Friday, when the visitors led 5-0 at half-time.