REAL MADRID - JUVENTUS
Latest test for the number '9' against Juventus without Ronaldo
Asensio will battle with Vinicius on the wing after Ronaldo's departure as Keylor, Kroos, Isco, Nacho and Lucas start their preseasons.
Real Madrid move onto the second stage of their US Tour in Washington with Luka Modric's situation causing confusion in los Blancos' camp. The most demanding test of the preseasion, before Atlético in the Super Cup on August 15th, awaits. Juventus are the opponents next although they left behind their new star player: Cristiano Ronaldo.
The feeling he left behind is no longer emotional as everyone has come to terms with the fact that he is no longer a Madrid player. It is now his physical absence that is missed and one that Real Madrid and Florentino Perez are yet to replace. Neymar was the initial target but he is no longer seen as a possibility this summer. Vinicius took his place against Manchester United and he impressed along with others but Madrid need goals and Marco Asensio will return against Juve to show that he can provide them.
Lopetegui will accept goals wherever he can find them. They showed good intentions against United with a high press and oodles of intensity but they couldn't find their mark. The club have refused to enter the market for a number nine and given Juventus' excellent defence, it means Benzema, Mayoral and Raul de Tomas, who needs to show he has what it takes during his trial period, will have a stern test late on Saturday night. That includes Bale, who flirted with the striker position during the game against United too.
Juventus might lack for goals themselves with Cristiano and Paulo Dybala left at home. Mandzukic is on vacation and Higuaín left for AC Milan. Keylor is not expected to suffer with just five days to go until the Premier League transfer market closes and with Thibaut Courtois threatening a move to the club. Lopetegui has done psychological work with the Costa Rican but there is not better way to improve than to get back on the field.
Isco, Toni Kroos, Nacho and Luvas Vazquez, who will meet Benatia for the first time since the infamous penalty at the Bernabeu, all return to the team as Lopetegui builds up a head of steam for the European Super Cup in Tallinn. Sergio Ramos, who returned to training in the US, will not be available though.
Real Madrid have more options than they did in the firts game and Juventus are aspiring to win the Champions League. "With Cristiano, it's a priority," said Del Piero. For Madrid, they will take it slowly and take their second step in the reinvention of the team sans the Portuguese talisman.
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