UEFA Super Cup 2018: Four players who could help Real Madrid retain the trophy
After the spectacle of international football which is the World Cup, all attention would once again switch to the European club scene for footballing action, as the season kicks off with the UEFA Super Cup clash between city rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the Tallinn Stadium in Estonia on Wednesday.
Real Madrid are enjoying the most successful period in their modern history, having won the Champions League in three consecutive seasons, as well as the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, in each of the last two seasons.
Their city rivals, Atletico Madrid, have also been successful in recent years, after the debacles of the last decade. They, however, underperformed in the UCL last season, finishing third in their group behind AS Roma and Chelsea, thereby, suffering a demotion to the Europa League.
The 'Red and Whites' however rallied together and put up an impressive campaign to triumph in the second tier of European club football.
Atletico have proved to be one of the more difficult opponents for the Los Blancos and have the ability to cause their city neighbours real problems. They have lost four European ties (including two finals) to Real Madrid in the last five years and would be desperate to get one over their more illustrious neighbours.
Real Madrid however, despite being without Ronaldo and record-breaking coach Zinedine Zidane are still the clear favourites to triumph in this tie, owing to their superior players and recent successes. Here are four players who can help Real secure another European trophy:
#4 Vinicius Jr
The 18-year-old signed a contract with Real Madrid in 2017 when he was barely 17 and had played less than 50 professional games in his career. Real Madrid saw huge potential in the Flamengo product and therefore, went ahead with the agreement.
The deal was finally concluded in July last month (as the minimum age for international transfers is 18 years), for a fee of £38.7 million, which is the highest a Brazilian club has received for the sale of a player (Neymar cost Barcelona €86m, but Santos only received €17m). It is also the highest transfer fee paid for a player below the age of 19 (Mbappe had turned 19 when his PSG move was finalized).
Although it is too early to start waxing lyrical about him, Vinicius Jr has looked very impressive during pre-season, having impressed on his Bernabeu debut against AC Milan, with his very first touch in a Madrid shirt drawing applause from the notoriously difficult to please Bernabeu crowd.
He might not get to start the match owing to the presence of much more established forwards in the Real attack, but based on what we've seen so far, the Brazilian has the potential to become the next big thing in world football.