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Benzema’s prestige grows with every month that passes


Just as he did against Juventus in Los Angeles, Ancelotti chose the same eleven starters from the Champions League final to face Eintracht in Helsinki. A double tribute to his European champions and a message to the recent arrivals - here, a place in the starting line-up has to be earned. The chosen ones won the game with solvency, to deliver another trophy, the European Super Cup - either the last trophy of last season or the first of the new one. Mourinho defined the Spanish Super Cup as more than a summer tournament but less than an official trophy. For me, that also applies to the European Super Cup. In any case, it had to be won, it was and Benzema lifted it.

Courtois and Vini

It was pretty straightforward victory, a far cry from those unforgettable late frenzies with which Madrid won the unforgettable 2021/22 Champions League. Eintracht, weakened by the departures of Hinteregger and Kostic, started the game timidly. When the game started to shift up a gear, we saw that Courtois is still an incredibly tough keeper to beat and that Vinicius will terrorise rivals if he is given space. He didn’t score on the night, but the first goal came from a corner which he won when his shot was turned around by Trapp. He later set Benzema for the the second. The Frenchman made his debut as captain last night and incidentally, overtook Raúl in the all-time goal scorers table - and with fewer games played. His status grows bigger with every month that goes by.

Ancelotti’s alternative options

Once the match was effectively over, Ancelotti, as transparent as ever, showed us his priorities by bringing on his substitutes. Rodrygo, Camavinga, Ceballos, Tchouameni and Rüdiger were brought on, which suggests that he has them in mind more than the rest. We didn’t see either Asensio, who is in limbo - or Hazard, about whom we are curious as to whether he will be able to play at least the occasional backup role for Benzema. At the moment, it looks like there are are eleven starters, five in the waiting and then the rest. How that works out will be revealed as the season wears on. In any case, a solvent Madrid with strength, play, morale and the hunger for titles intact.


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