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Fresh-faced Sevilla take on a weakened Real Madrid


Sevilla a side in continual revolution 

Two years ago, Real Madrid and Sevilla faced each other in the very same match that we’ll see tonight, that time in Cardiff. From that Sevilla side, only three remain: Pareja, Carriço and Vitolo. Sevilla are a team defined by continual revolution, having perfected the art of signing well and selling even better, in turn allowing them to renew their squad with first-rate players time and again, year after year. This summer, 10 have left and nine come in for a surplus of €16.8 million. Last summer, the balance was +€23.4m, and the year before that +€29.4m. That’s almost €70m gained in three seasons.

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Baptism of fire for Sampaoli 

The surplus is spent on salaries, of course. Good players are earning more and more every year. Sevilla wouldn’t be able to stay in the elite without Monchi’s formula, which helps the club do what they do in the transfer market, or without coaches who are able to start each season from zero. Emery triumphed with his tenacity and determination, and now comes Sampaoli, as new to Sevilla as half of his squad. His first test is against Real Madrid tonight, and the next one will be against Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup. What a baptism of fire! But Sampaoli is an original type, and he arrives with the look of a good coach following his successful time as Chile manager.

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A big chance for Morata 

Real Madrid have suffered from less convulsions in the makeup of its personnel. In fact, there has been very little movement this summer, practically nothing. However, Euro 2016 and injuries have disrupted their starting line-up. Cristiano, Bale and Benzema are all missing, as well as Kroos, who alters the team’s natural attack. It’s a big occasion for Morata, then, who was feeble on the tour of America, and for Isco and James too, who are both under pressure from Asensio, the revelation of pre-season. It’ll be a good game, I hope, and in any case a cause of pride for La Liga.