eal without Ronaldo, Bale, Kroos and Pepe for Super Cup
Aug 8 (Reuters) – Real Madrid will be without forward pair Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, midfielder Toni Kroos and defender Pepe for Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup encounter with Sevilla in Trondheim, Norway.
France striker Karim Benzema is also doubtful for the match between the Champions League winners and the Europa League holders because of a back injury.
Ronaldo has not played since spraining his left knee during Portugal’s 1-0 extra-time win over hosts France in last month’s Euro 2016 final and Real have not yet set a date for his comeback.
Bale, Kroos and Pepe were given an extended break following their involvement in Euro 2016 and only returned to training on Saturday.
Real, runners-up to Barcelona in La Liga last season, beat Atletico Madrid in May to lift the Champions League trophy in coach Zinedine Zidane’s first campaign in charge.
Zidane is now aiming to become the fifth man to win the Super Cup as a player and a coach, following in the footsteps of Carlo Ancelotti, Diego Simeone, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique.
“We have a cup final with two teams who are both capable of winning, the only thing I’m concerned about is whether we are ready and we are,” said the former France playmaker.
“We’ll see what happens with Karim Benzema tomorrow but the important thing is he’s with us.”
Sevilla, who defeated Liverpool in the Europa League final, will be playing their first competitive game under new coach Jorge Sampaoli.
Sampaoli, who took over after Unai Emery moved to Paris St Germain in June, is relishing the opportunity to showcase the change in his team’s philosophy.
“Playing a superpower like Real Madrid on this stage is a great challenge,” said the former Chile coach.
“My footballing philosophy is that my team should utterly dominate games. My ambition is for Sevilla not to win by any means but to lay down a style and a way of playing that means we don’t feel inferior to anyone.”