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Real Madrid vs Manchester United: RealSport’s UEFA Super Cup XI

The winners of the Champions League and Europa League clash at the Philip II Arena, but who has the strongest XI?

  1. 1 GK: David de Gea

    The Spaniard is arguably the best 'keeper in the Premier League and one of the top five in the world; it's no surprise Real Madrid have been hot on his trail for the past few summers.

    David de Gea has seemingly cut out the mental errors and fragility that seemed to plague his game upon his arrival at Manchester United and blossomed into a consistently world-class 'keeper, capable of producing the athletically impossible.

    If only the fax machine had been working to standard in 2015 and de Gea could well have been a Real Madrid player by now...

  2. 2 RB: Antonio Valencia

    Jose Mourinho's Mr Reliable. The Ecuadorian has been a Red Devil for the best part of a decade now and has emerged as one of United's most consistent players, especially over the course of 2016/17.

    It's not to say that Dani Carvajal isn't a fantastic right back, but Valencia just edges it due to his importance to United's style of play.

    He's an industrious presence on the right flank and fulfils the duties of a modern fullback. He creates chances (32), provides width and tracks back to defend. Valencia is both an on-and-off pitch leader and presence in the dressing room of vital value to Mourinho.

  3. 3 CB: Sergio Ramos

    Not only is Sergio Ramos a world-class centre-back, arguably one of the best in the world, he's a presence you absolutely must have in your team. He's a fantastic captain and has handled the big egos of the Madrid dressing room extraordinarily well, able to gel the team together even during Mourinho's tumultuous reign.

    Moreover, Ramos is a big-game player. He has a knack of turning up for Madrid when it matters most, seemingly arriving out of nowhere in the box to score a last-minute header or something of that ilk.

    Los Blancos' Captain Fantastic.

  4. 4 CB: Raphael Varane

    23 games in La Liga isn't as much as Raphael Varane would have liked, but injury prevented us from seeing the best of the Frenchman on a consistent basis. When he did play, though, he impressed.

    Varane rarely concedes fouls, such is timing of the tackle, and he won 77% of those attempted last season, as well as making a further six defensive actions per game, including a massive 98 clearances.

    The attribute that makes Varane so impressive, however, is his turn of pace for a centre-back. He's not only strong, but extremely quick and has the acceleration to match most of the strikers he's going to face.

  5. 5 LB: Marcelo

    The left back that's more than just a left back.

    Manchester United have their own left back issues at the moment, with none seemingly up to the task, so Marcelo earns his spot relatively unopposed, but that's not to say the Brazilian isn't phenomenal.

    Marcelo was of great importance to Zidane's overall game. He shuttles up and down the left flank tenaciously and was a key attacking outlet, creating the third-most chances of any Madrid player. Of that, furthermore, he assisted an impressive ten goals.

    Whilst Marcelo isn't the most switched on of defenders, Zidane has found a system that allows the 29-year-old to do what he does best; bomb forwards and attack.

  6. 6 CDM: Ander Herrera

    Such an attack-minded side needs a strong and stable defensive presence at the base of the midfield and, for me, Ander Herrera edges Casemiro for this role.

    The Spaniard developed into one of United's most important players of 2016/17 and Mourinho's most trusted soldier. It's his energy, tenacity and industry that make him such a valuable presence in the midfield.

    He has the ability to venture forwards and create from deep, but he's in this XI for his defensive contributions; Herrera made 62 clearances and 86 interceptions, as well as 64 tackles.

    The midfield engine on which United build their attacks with defensive security.

  7. 7 CM: Luka Modric

    One of, if not the, best central midfielders in the world and Real Madrid's deserved new number ten.

    Luka Modric is so often the under-appreciated part of Madrid's success and it's only once he's injured that you notice just how vital he is. The little Croatian is the metronome that keeps Madrid ticking over and without fail he makes himself available as a passing option.

    One of the best distributors of the ball, Modric recorded an 89% passing accuracy and was typically the 'pass before the pass.' It's not his end product that stands out, but his ability to create from deep. Without him, Madrid wouldn't be the same, he's that good.

  8. 8 CM: Paul Pogba

    It's so extraordinarily harsh on Toni Kroos to exclude him from this XI, but in the name of giving the midfield some balance, I felt it necessary. Both Kroos and Modric perform similar roles, whilst Paul Pogba offers something different.

    An enigmatic player, Pogba is yet to produce his best form for the Red Devils, but he's certainly capable of that 'special something,' turning a game on its head and providing moments of magic.

    That's why he's in our team and why he just edges Kroos. This side didn't need another midfield metronome, rather a unique player with game-changing ability.

  9. 9 CAM: Isco

    The inclusion of Valencia and Marcelo, two attack-minded wing backs, afford us the opportunity to play without traditional wingers, hence pertaining to the introduction of Isco.

    Once on the verge of leaving, but now unattainable, the Spanish magician was one of Madrid's brightest sparks in their double-winning season and thrived in the absence of Gareth Bale.

    His trickery on the ball is what makes him so special, with Isco able to dribble his way out of even the tightest of spaces and then having the vision to accurately set up a teammate.

    Ten goals and nine La Liga assists in 30 games (18 starts) is a phenomenal record and Isco deserves his place in this XI.

  10. 10 ST: Cristiano Ronaldo

    Who else, but Cristiano Ronaldo?

    A surprise inclusion into Zidane's match-day squad given he only returned to training over the weekend, but if available it's a sin to not play him.

    The Portuguese completed one of his best-ever seasons, winning Euro 2016, La Liga, the Champions League and his fourth Ballon d'Or, scoring 42 goals in all competitions.

    His most impressive performances came in Europe, though, with Ronaldo bagging back-to-back hat-tricks in the quarter-final and semi-final, as well as a brace in the final against the best defence in Europe. In the process, he won the competition's Golden Boot.

    One of the world's best-ever players and a footballing icon.

  11. 11 ST: Karim Benzema

    Whilst Romelu Lukaku scored more goals than Karim Benzema managed in their respective leagues, the target man's role in this XI isn't to score, but to provide for Ronaldo and there's no striker better at doing so than the Frenchman.

    Benzema was the ideal target man last season. He acted as the focal point in attack, led the line and allowed Ronaldo to play off him as the second striker. He has the strength to hold up the ball as well as the technicality to find the Portuguese in dangerous areas with deft touches or passes.

    Lukaku is a powerful goal-scorer, but his first touch lets him down. For the purposes of this XI, therefore, Benzema is far better suited to a tandem with Ronaldo.

RealSport verdict: Real Madrid 7-4 Manchester United


  1. POLL: Who will win the UEFA Super Cup?

    1. Real Madrid
    2. Manchester United
    48 votes
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Oli Stein

Football Editor

Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has been RealSport's football editor since September 2016.

He's a Tottenham Hotspur fan first and objective football writer second!

Oli is also a defensive end for American football club the London Blitz, starting his career on the offensive line with his Bristol university team.

Real Madrid vs Manchester United: RealSport’s UEFA Super Cup XI

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