A fired up a crowd of 36,000 fans saw Real Madrid claim what looks to be their first of many trophies this season. After United won the Europa League a few months back, last night’s game proved that they have a long way to go before any shot of contention for the Champions League.
Casemiro scored the first goal for Los Blancos in the 24th minute, staying onside by the skin of his teeth, receiving a wonderful lob from Dani Carvajal.
Taking five players out like a fish out of water, Isco and Gareth Bale had sewn up a wonderful one-two, with the former doubling the score in the 52nd minute.
Romelu Lukaku was able to bury what would be a consolation goal past Keylor Navas in the 62nd minute of his professional debut for United.
The most intriguing part was seeing Real Madrid going into a final and not seeing Ronaldo as part of the starting XI. Cristiano had returned to Madrid for training just a few days back, thus leaving him on the bench. The Portuguese star came on to close out the final eight minutes of the match, but wasn’t able to put anything up on the score card.
Here are five things we learned about Real Madrid.
1 Isco's MOTM performance
Despite his small frame, Isco ran through the lines of United like Donald Trump on Twitter, mercilessly. His contention for MOTM was very much contested by his teammates, but Isco looked like a diamond atop Zidane's fluid diamond formation.
"With the goal, he scored, with the style of play only he knows, he just continues getting better" -Zidane on Isco's MOTM performance.
Isco came off the pitch after 75 minutes with a 90% pass completion rate as well as a goal. His ability to keep the ball so close and stretch the play wreaked havoc on United's defensive line.
It comes to no one's surprise that the Spanish international will be signing his contract extension in the coming days, as confirmed by Zizou himself.
After much time spent on the bench in his first few seasons and with more playing time available after James Rodriguez left on loan, we hope to see the magician as La Liga kicks off this Sunday.
2 Madrid midfield in full flow
It is often said that matches are won in the middle third, whether it be key possession, discipline to hold the lines or drive to win the ball back. Madrid did all those things and more in superb fashion.
Casemiro picked up right where he left off in Real Madrid's last game of the 2016/17 season, with a goal. Though his importance in the squad is not goal-scoring, his half-volley inside the box helped Madrid plant their feet and take an affirmative stance on the match.
Casemiro's efficiency in defence helped shield Madrid from the attack of Paul Pogba and company.
Toni Kroos and Luka Modric both had wonderful games, with the duo completing 95% of their passes. Kroos was so clinical in the midfield, in fact, he had at least 30 more passes than any Red Devil on the pitch.
3 Madrid's top five passers
Even without playing at full capacity, it's fair to say Madrid's squad is unquestionably the best in the continent particularly their midfield.
Player Number of Passes Completion Rate Toni Kroos 76 96% Sergio Ramos 71 89% Luka Modric 71 93% Isco 68 86% Casemiro 61 93%
Mourinho even said so himself. The Portuguese said in the post-match presser "The midfield of Real Madrid, there are no replicas – no replica of Modric, of Kroos, no replica of Isco, no replica of Casemiro!"
4 Pre-season a distant memory
Real Madrid's preseason tour in the United States ended just last week in Chicago and several poor performances were stirring up concerns across the board.
The pre-season had Madrid starting to look like Indiana Jones caught in quick sand rather than James Bond in a tuxedo.
Many were pleading for the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, but despite his presence for all but eight minutes last night, Real put together a strong and convincing performance, showing Europe they are back in top gear where and when it matters most.
With a great start to the season, Real will be looking to carry on their fine form on Sunday when they face Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup.
5 The chase for Bale ends
Mourinho had his eye on Gareth Bale, but admitted his pursuit had fizzled out after the conclusion of the Super Cup saying; "For me game over, clearly. I think now everybody knows he's going to stay."
During Bale's time at Real, he has started 92 matches, scoring 54 goals and assisted his teammates 33 times, making him directly involved in a goal every 89.9 minutes.
"I do not see or read anything. I really enjoy my football here at Real Madrid."- Bale confirms his Madrid stay.
After Real's triumph in Macedonia, Florentino Perez was asked about the future of Bale at Madrid to which he responded: "I'm not even thinking about these things. Bale is with Real Madrid, we are very happy with him and he is one of the best players in the world.
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