Super Cup 2018/2019: Three players who could decide the tie in Atletico Madrid's favor
The 2018/2019 European season is upon us, and the traditional curtain raiser for the new UEFA club season takes place on Wednesday as Champions League winners Real Madrid tackles Europa League champions Atletico Madrid to decide the winner of the UEFA Super Cup.
Both teams' recent successes on the continental front means that this is the most contested European match in recent years, as both capital clubs will clash in Europe for the tenth time in just four seasons.
Real Madrid earned the right to this matchup with their impressive displays in the Champions League last season, where they won the trophy for the third time in succession by defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the final.
Atletico, on the other hand, suffered a rare slump in form at the UCL group stage last season and were consequently demoted to the Europa League where they triumphed convincingly.
Real Madrid are the bookmakers favourite to retain the trophy they have won for the last two seasons, but Atletico are no pushovers, as Real themselves know, owing to their struggles against their red and white city neighbours in recent seasons.
Atletico Madrid is undoubtedly one of the strongest teams in Europe at the moment, and in Diego Simeone, they have a serial winning coach who has triumphed on two different continents.
With the calibre of players Atletico Madrid possesses, they know that on their day they can defeat anybody in the world. Here are three players Real Madrid would be wary of, who could cause them the most damage.
#3 Thomas Lemar
The World Cup-winning winger was highly sought after by a host of clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool, owing to his eye-catching displays for Monaco in the French league, but it was Atletico who finally procured his services for a club record £52m fee.
The 22-year-old is a dynamic winger who possesses pace, excellent dribbling and free kick accuracy. He would offer some versatility to the Atletico attack, as he is capable of playing on either wing or through the middle.
Predominantly a left-footer, Lemar is also comfortable with his right foot and is bound to cause problems for a Real Madrid backline noted for its high affinity to leave large spaces at the back, which essentially plays to Lemar's abilities.
Though not renowned for goalscoring (he scored just 15 league goals for Monaco in 90 appearances across three seasons), it is through his passing and linkup play with which he could harm Real Madrid, and Marcelo or Carvajal would do well to keep an eye on him.