Venue: MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, New Jersey
Time: Friday, July 26 8:00 PM EDT
El Derbi Madrileño will take place in the United States for the first time in the classic rivalry’s history, much like El Clásico in Miami a few seasons ago. While still a preseason match, there’s of course bad blood between these two Madrid clubs where a victory is always sweeter.
Real made a wonderful comeback on Tuesday against Arsenal, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in penalties. However, they unfortunately lost Marco Asensio to a horrible injury in the process.
Atlético will be partaking in only their second match of the International Champions Cup after winning in penalties over Guadalajara on Tuesday. They will also be a part of the MLS All- Star Game next Wednesday in Orlando.
They have a different looking team than what Real have encountered in previous seasons with Diego Godin moving on to Inter, Filipe Luis to Flamengo, Rodri to Manchester City, and of course Griezmann switching to Barcelona. And, of course, they have two former Real players in Mario Hermoso and Marcos Llorente.
This will be Real’s last match of the ICC until they travel to Munich and face off against Tottenham in the Audi Cup semi-final next Tuesday. There’s still some preseason left to play following this brief US tour.
This is a big day for US fans to witness a classic rivalry between two clubs that have plenty of history between them. There’s never been a more fitting setting than the home of the Giants (and Jets) to host two of Spain’s biggest clubs.
Real Madrid are without Marco Asensio after he was taken off on Tuesday against Arsenal. It’s been reported that he sustained a ruptured ACL, which likely means he will miss most, if not all of this entire season. They also reportedly will be without Ferland Mendy for three weeks to a month after sustaining a thigh injury. The injuries are already starting to hurt Real and their players before the season even starts this year.
Atlético are still without Sime Vrsaljko, who has been out since January and did not take part in this preseason squad.
Nacho is the lone suspension for Real in El Derbi after taking a red card just several minutes into the Arsenal match. Marcos Llorente picked up a red against Guadalajara so we will not see him either.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Isco, Kroos, Modric; Bale, Hazard, Benzema
Zidane has gone relatively close to full strength with his starting lineups in the previous two matches, so it’s not a stretch really to suggest he’ll do quite the same in a rivalry match. Now with Asensio, Mendy and Nacho missing, there may be some changes as well.
Most of these players will be subbed off by the start of the second half, so it’s not really a big deal who starts as most of the traveling squad will get time on the pitch.
As for Bale, after scoring a goal against Arsenal and the injury to Asensio, why not just watch the world burn and start him?
Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Hermoso, Lodi; Correa, Koke, Saul, Lemar; Felix, Costa
Real Madrid—Atlético Madrid 3-2
The past several derbies, in the cases where they’ve actually mattered in the standings, have been relatively low-scoring and even mostly draws. That changed in February when Real took a 3-1 victory, the first win in El Derbi for either club in LaLiga since 2016.
While the stakes aren’t high here, this would be a nice one to win to finish off the US tour on a high note and a win over a bitter rival. It would also put Real at a positive record for this brief preseason tournament and something they can at least be satisfied with when traveling back to Europe.
And, to be honest, El Derbi, much like El Clásico, is always a fun matchup even when the results don’t really matter.