Why is the Uefa Super Cup being played in Cardiff? Everything you need to know about Real Madrid vs Sevilla
What can you expect from the European curtain raiser in the Welsh capital
What is the Uefa Super Cup?
The annual fixture is seen as the curtain-raiser to the European football season. In essence, it’s Uefa’s Community Shield. It pits the Champions League winners against the Europa League champions, and takes place at a neutral venue.
So who will feature?
Real Madrid will return to competitive action for the first time since they secured La Decima with the 4-1 Champions League final victory over rivals Atletico Madrid back in May. They will come up against a Seville side that has a habit of appearing in the Super Cup such is their pedigree in the secondary tournament, the Europa League – formerly the Uefa Cup. Seville beat Portuguese side Benfica on penalties in May’s Europa League final, and set-up the all-Spanish Super Cup in the process.
Where is it?
The match was traditionally played at Monaco’s Stade Louis II Stadium between 1998 and 2012. But last year, Uefa decided that it was time to take the friendly on the road as it was played at the Eden Arena in Prague. This year, Gareth Bale will have the privilege of playing in front of his home crowd as Cardiff plays host to the fixture – although it will not be at the 72,500-capacity Millennium Stadium but rather the Cardiff City Stadium, which houses 33,000 spectators.
Does anyone care about the match?
According to Spanish newspaper AS, 8,000 fans will travel from Spain to watch the match, while the rest of the stadium will be filled up by locals eager to see arguably the best team in the world in action. There is also the added bonus of seeing a home-grown star in action as Bale looks set to start the match, having got a first season with Real under his belt – as well as the Champions League crown. World Cup star James Rodriguez is also set to make his debut for his new club since completing his £63m move from Monaco in the summer, while the allure of Cristiano Ronaldo in action is always an attraction in itself.
Somewhat strangely, Liverpool fans may also take an interest in the match as it’s an opportunity to witness transfer target Alberto Moreno in action. The left-back has been linked with a £20m move to Anfield this summer, and it’s believed that efforts to sign the Spaniard could come to a head following the match as he’ll be in the United Kingdom to discuss the move.
Where can I watch it?
The match is due to be screened live on brand new channel Sky Sports 5, which will broadcast the latest European football throughout the season. If you’re not a fan of the juggernaut that is Sky Sports, ITV4 will also be showing the match live from 7.30pm, with kick-off scheduled for 7.45pm.
Read more: Bale poised to shine in star-studded homecoming
Bale focused on silverware before personal showing
Is there an English interest?
There certainly is. Referee Mark Clattenburg will take charge of the match, and he’ll likely have the honour of being the first man to use the World Cup revelation that was the vanishing spray in European football. It’s also an opportunity for Clattenburg to step up and make his claim to be England’s leading referee following the retirement of the former incumbent to that claim, Howard Webb. Liverpool fans could also see Iago Aspas in action, although the on-loan forward is unlikely to start the match but could be brought off the bench if he is included.
Has either team won the Super Cup before?
Yes, in fact they both have. Real beat Feyenoord 3-1 in 2002 to win the trophy, and have been beaten twice before having suffered defeats against Chelsea in 1998, and Galatasaray two years later. Seville won their one and only Super Cup in 2006 by beating Barcelona 3-0, and they threatened to win back-to-back Super Cups as they retained their Europa League crown the following season, but suffered a 3-1 defeat to AC Milan in Monaco.
Which star names will be taking to the Cardiff City Stadium pitch?
There’s no doubting that Real have more household names than Seville – and probably any other teams in the world for that matter. They will be led as ever by Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Ballon d’Or winner will have the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema for support. As it stands, Angel Di Maria remains a Madrid player despite talk of a move to Manchester United and Monaco, and he could feature in the game even though Rodriguez is likely to be handed his debut.
Real Madrid squad:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Keylor Navas, Pacheco.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa, Nacho.
Midfielders: Khedira, Kroos, James Rodríguez, Bale, Xabi Alonso, Modric, Di María, Isco, Illarrameni.
Strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema.
Goalkeepers: Beto, Javi Vargas, Barbosa.
Defenders: Coke, Fazio, Pareja, Alberto Moreno, Navarro, Figueiras, Cicinho, Arribas.
Midfielders: Carriço, Krychowiak, Reyes, Denis Suárez, Vitolo, Samperio, Iborra, Trochowski, Vidal, Rabello, Stevanovic;
Strikers: Bacca, Aspas.
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