It all begins here. Rafa Benítez will coach his first official match with Real Madrid tomorrow as Los Blancos try to begin their quest for the Liga BBVA title by getting the three points against newly-promoted Sporting de Gijón. Madrid are hoping to replace Karim Benzema successfully and Benítez will have to choose two players between James, Isco and Jesé. Last year, that choice would've been fairly obvious, but Jesé has completed an impressive pre-season and arguably deserves to start in Benzema's spot until the French recovers from his injury.
Benítez did not want to reveal his lineup in the pre-match press conference. Keylor Navas and Danilo appear to be ready to start but it would not be a huge surprise to see Casilla and Carvajal playing. Pepe has recovered in time for the game but Benítez might want to play it safe and start Varane alongside Ramos.
Real Madrid should beat Sporting but Los Blancos have not performed great throughout the pre-season and they will need to improve a lot if they want to get the three points.
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com
Date & Time: Sunday, August 23rd (20:30 local time, 14:30 EST).
Venue: El Molinón, Gijón, Spain.
Projected Real Madrid XI: Navas, Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, Ronaldo, Bale, James, Jesé.
Players to watch: Kroos, Jesé, Danilo.
TV Information: BeIN Sports USA (United States), Sky Sports 3 (United Kingdom), SuperSport 3 Africa (Kenya), Canal+ Partidazo (Spain), Others.
Stream information: BeIN Sports Connect (United States), Sky Go (United Kingdom), Others.