MELBOURNE, Sporting Alert – Real Madrid and Manchester City will battle in a high-profile pre-season clash with the two European giants set to face-off in the International Champions Cup in Australia on Friday.
Both clubs are expected to field relatively strong side with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos all set to feature for Madrid.
Manager Rafa Benitez could hand goalkeeper Kiko Casilla and Casemiro starting places in his side as well, but the Spaniard made it clear that he will be using the competition as another key part of his team’s preparations for the coming season.
“I want to make it very clear that this is a period of preparation for the season ahead,” Benitez said at his press conference.
“We’ll be playing with a team that is good enough to win but the main idea is getting ourselves ready for the real matches ahead.
“I’ll be naming a good team but I can’t guarantee whether the starting line up will include six, seven or eight players who will be starting in the first La Liga fixture. This is our preseason.”
New summer recruit Raheem Sterling, who started and scored against AS Roma in the last outing, will feature again for the Citizens.
The likes of David Silva, Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, who came off the bench in the last outing and Vincent Kompany are all expected to be in the starting XI for the English Premier League outfits.
Real Madrid were beaten on penalties by AS Roma in their last match in the International Champions Cup, while Man City were more successful against the Italian club after the pair played to an exciting 2-2 draw.
Friday’s contest will be the fourth in pre-season for Manchester City, who in addition to AS Roma, have also beaten Adelaide United, 2-0 and Melbourne City, 1-0.
Sky Blues manager Manuel Pellegrini said the preparations in Australia have gone on very well thus far, adding that he is looking forward to playing an “important” pre-season game against Real Madrid at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“I think it is important for this Club to go to Australia,” Pellegrini said.
“Firstly, because we have a sister club there and I think is a country where they like football and to play with teams like Real Madrid there is very important.”
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