This is something we’ve never had before: tonight in the Spanish capital, the two giants of Milan will play the two giants of Madrid, with the games kicking off just five minutes apart.
Real Madrid face AC Milan at 21:00 (CEST) for the Bernabeu Trophy, comfortable with the knowledge that Luka Modric is definitely staying. At 21:05, Atlético take on Inter, coincidentally the club which tried to lure Modric away from the Bernabeu with an incredible offer. Milan was the city where the two Madrid clubs faced each other for the second time in the Champions League final in 2016, which Real won on penalties, after the game had finished 1-1 after extra time.
The visit of AC Milan, seven-time European Cup winners, evokes memories of the Madrid’s third European Cup victory 60 years ago. The game against Milan finished 3-2, with Gento’s goal in extra time sealing the win for Los Blancos. For Di Stefano, it was both the best and most difficult of all the finals he played in. Milan is a team that has always managed to maintain its foothold in Europe, and has much greater success out of Italy than Juventus.
I see this Bernabeu Trophy fixture as homage to the old rivalry between these two greats of European football, as well, of course, as another opportunity to see how the new Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo is going to work out.
A little more than nine kilometers away, three-time European cup-winners Inter meet Atlético, who will be feeling satisfied after a job well done this summer. They convinced Griezmann to stay and they have also managed to hold on to Oblak, Giménez and Godín. And with the signings of Lamar, Gelson and Rodrigo, this is arguably the best squad that Diego Simeone has had since he took over the club.
These two mouthwatering fixtures tonight are fitting curtain raisers for Wednesday night’s battle, where Real and Atlético will face each other in the UEFA Super Cup final in Tallin.