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Lopetegui Continues To Talk Up Gareth Bale

Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui praised Gareth Bale and is confident the Welsh forward will fill the void left by the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus.

Prolific striker Ronaldo moved to Juventus in July and Madrid have not signed a replacement, with the onus on Bale to become the team’s key figure after he struck twice in the Champions League final win over Liverpool.

‘We love that (Bale) is with us. He is so motivated with a lot of hope and he’s been working well since the beginning of the season,’ Lopetegui told reporters on the eve of Real’s UEFA Super Cup showdown with Europa League holders and city rivals Atletico Madrid in Tallinn.

Julen Lopetegui will select Keylor Navas to start in goal for Real Madrid in the Super Cup final, meaning €40 million goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will watch from the sidelines.

According to media reports, Navas was always going to play in Talinn, even if Los Blancos landed Courtois.

Navas has been No 1 for Lopetegui throughout pre-season and played in the Champions League final win against Liverpool back in May.

It means supporters who have made the six-hour trip to Estonia will be forced to wait even longer to see their latest big recruit in action.

The triumphant return of Rodrigo is an indication of the growing strength of the Atlético Madrid academy, which is typically given little attention compared to those of rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Atlético are reported to have paid around €20 million to bring Rodrigo back to the capital, the midfielder having developed into a Spain international during his time at Villarreal.

And Rodrigo’s return comes at the ideal time as he slots in as the ideal replacement for Gabi, the club captain having departed for Al Sadd at the age of 35 following Atléti’s Europa League triumph.

Is Atletico Madrid The Best Team In Spain?

This was supposed to be the summer when had to watch unveiled as new No 7 (they were keeping the shirt number for him especially) and maybe see Jan Oblak swan off to too.

Instead Griezmann stayed and so did Oblak despite Chelsea’s willingness to pay his buy-out clause.

And not only was Diego Simeone able to keep his best players he also welcomed Monaco flier , Villarreal midfielder Rodri, Milan striker Nikola Kalinic and Sporting winger Gelson Martins.

The underdog narrative might not come so easy to him this season – make no mistake: This Atletico Madrid side can win La Liga.

Lionel Messi became Barcelona’s most successful player on Sunday night when he won a 33rd team title with the club.

Messi claimed an assist for Ousmane Dembele’s winner as Barca beat Sevilla 2-1 to lift the Supercopa de Espana.

The five time Ballon d’Or winner replaced Andres Iniesta, who left the Camp Nou after more than two decades to join Japanese side Vissel Kobe earlier this year, as the most decorated player in Barca’s history.

Messi has now won the Spanish Super Cup eight times, as well as nine La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, six Copa del Reys, three Club World Cups and a hat-trick of UEFA Super Cups.

David Silva has announced his retirement from international football after Spain’s disappointing World Cup last-16 exit.

The 32-year-old midfielder, who sat out Manchester City’s 2-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League, revealed the big news in a statement on Twitter on Monday evening.

Silva – who won the World Cup in 2014 and two European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012 with Spain – has now joined Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta in hanging up his international boots.

The Spaniard enjoyed a stellar 12 years with the national team, winning a remarkable 125 caps along the way after making his debut back in 2006.

Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui calls the rivalry between goalkeepers Keylor Navas and Thibaut Courtois ‘magnificent’ for the club.

Courtois ended Madrid’s long-running pursuit of a goalkeeper, but Navas has since warned that he had ‘the same desire to leave as to die’, while catching the eye during Los Blancos’ 3-1 win against Milan on Saturday.

“My Super Cup XI? I don’t know it yet, but if I knew it I still wouldn’t tell you,” Lopetegui said after the game.

“It’s always special to be sitting in the dugout at the Bernabeu. There’s always excitement before a game but more so here.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says he has ‘high hopes’ for Ousmane Dembele this season after his Supercopa winner against Sevilla.

“The truth is that Sevilla made it complicated at first after they scored the first goal, and it was difficult to overcome them, although given how the match progressed in the second half, I thought we were closer to winning,” said the Coach after his side’s 2-1 victory in Tangier.

“They were very rounded because they started the season before us, while it was our first day of competitive action, and it ended well.

Barcelona Beats Sevilla To Win Super Cup

Lionel Messi lifted his first trophy as the new Barcelona captain – his record breaking 33rd as a Barca player – as Ernesto Valverde’s team won the Spanish Super Cup beating Sevilla 2-1.

No one has won more silverware in Barcelona’s history than the Argentine but this victory in Tangiers’ Stade Ibn Battouta was largely thanks to the club’s forgotten man Ousmane Dembele.

The French international’s spectacular goal 12 minutes from time settled the first ever Spanish Super Cup played outside of Spain. It came after Gerard Pique had cancelled out Pablo Sarabia’s opening goal.

Real Madrid faced their first test at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure.

Julen Lopetegui has tried to strengthen the side offensively following their top scorer’s move to Juventus and against AC Milan, and they returned to form with the trident that will likely play against Atletico Madrid.

Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio were handed the reins as they have been throughout pre-season and they responded.

On Saturday, both Benzema and Bale scored and demonstrated a great understanding in attack with each other, while Asensio displayed his talent, brilliance and speed throughout.

Those two goals from BBA mean that of the nine that Madrid have scored in their four pre-season games, all but one have came from their attacking trio.