James Rodriguez may have a bagged a goal on his Bernabeu debut, but Real Madrid still have a lot of work to do if they are to clinch the Spanish Super Copa with the score tied at 1-1 after the first leg.
The Colombian profited from a goalmouth scramble to edge Real ahead but below-strength Atletico – who looked impotent in attack for much of the contest – equalised late on through Raul Garcia.
With the Liga title race anticipated to eclipse last year’s enthralling episode, both sides will be acutely aware that victory in the season precursor could provide a crucial mental edge.
Real have set their sights on winning all six trophies on offer in the 2014/15 season having already clinched the European Super Cup against Sevilla.
Atletico may hand a start to summer signing Antoine Griezmann, with the Frenchman set to operate just behind Mario Mandzukic upfront. Jan Oblak and Arda Turan are expected to miss out again.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit for the clash after going off as a precaution at half time during the first leg with a hamstring strain. There were initial fears the Portuguese star had suffered a recurrence of the knee injury that he suffered at the back end of last season and carried into the World Cup but that was quickly played down. Want-away midfielder Angel Di Maria is unlikely to feature.
Diego Simeone on the upcoming Liga season: “I do not like to lie to people and one thing is clear: we cannot compete with Madrid and Barcelona. Our rivals will be Sevilla, Valencia and Athletic (Bilbao), our objective is third place. We are putting together the group and we have changed, above all in attack. I look at it as a new start especially in attack because the team is different. Mandzukic, Jimenez and Griezmann are different to Costa, Villa and Adrian. We have, though, kept the same solid structure which is the base of the team, but we are now looking for the best style to adopt with this. We have to have patience. We are the champions but the players are not the same and we are in a different league to Barca and Madrid.”
Carlo Ancelotti: “We are used to playing against Atletico and they are used to facing us. I don’t think the style of game will be different, they now have the advantage from their positive result at the Bernabeu but I think it will be the same type of match. We need to defend, counter attack well and take advantage of free-kicks. Di Maria asked to leave this summer and rejected the option to renew. We will look for the best option for him and if at the end of August he is still here then he will work with us like last season.”