Real Madrid vs Atlético: Bale, Benzema's unfinished business
They'll be out to show they can spearhead Real's post-CR7 side, but haven't had it all their own way either in the Super Cup or against Atleti.
Real Madrid take on city rivals Atlético tonight in the 2018 Uefa Super Cup, in a derbi madrileño that will, following the summer departure of star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, see two players in particular look to set their stall out as the spearheads of Los Blancos' new side: Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
But as Real prepare to go after a third Super Cup in a row, and their fourth in five years, both come into the clash in Tallinn having not had it all their own way either in the traditional European curtain-raiser or in games against Atleti.
Neither Bale nor Benzema prolific against Atlético
Since his arrival at the Bernabéu in summer 2013, Bale has faced Atlético 16 times, registering just one goal against Diego Simeone's men. However, that solitary strike was an important one: it was his extra-time header that gave Real the lead in their 2014 Champions League final victory over Los Rojiblancos.
And although he has been involved in more Madrid-derby wins (13) than any other player in the squad, and produced one of the stand-out moments of his Real career at the Vicente Calderón in May 2017 (see the image below), Benzema's goal return against Los Colchoneros isn't much better: just three in 29 games.
Bale and Benzema both yet to score in Uefa Super Cup
When it comes to the Super Cup, meanwhile, Bale and Benzema have also struggled in front of goal; indeed, they are both yet to get off the mark. Neither Sevilla in 2014 and 2016 (admittedly, the 'Cardiff Express' was not involved in Trondheim two years ago) nor Manchester United in 2017 were breached by the pair.
Bale's overall record in finals is a good one, though
Yet despite drawing a Super Cup blank, Bale does in fact boast a fine strike rate of four goals in five finals in which a major trophy has been at stake: his memorable solo effort in the 2014 Copa del Rey triumph over Barcelona, his header in Lisbon and his Champions League brace against Liverpool (featuring THAT overhead kick) in May.
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