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Five Real fringe players that could shine in absence of key Galacticos for Super Cup

| 09.08.2016

Lee Gormley | August 8, 2016

Five Real Madrid fringe players to shine

After securing an incredible 11th European Cup crown last season when toppling city rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties, Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid soon kick off their 2016/17 campaign in the Super Cup.

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The Champions League winners will take on Europa League victors Sevilla in the annual European encounter, but will be without several key Galacticos as they search for an early piece of silverware this term.

Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, Keylor Navas and Pepe were all left out of the club’s 20-man squad for the match in Trondheim, Norway, handing many fringe players the chance to shine.

With those key stars missing, Coral look at five players that have the opportunity to impress Zidane ahead of the Spanish season kicking off

Kiko Casilla

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Following the departure of club icon Iker Casillas, the number one slot between the sticks was handed to Costa Rican Navas, and the 29-year-old didn’t disappoint as he kept 22 clean sheets in 45 outings across all competitions last season.

Although, with the regular goal guard having undergone surgery on an Achilles problem in June and battling to be fit for the start of La Liga, Casilla is set to deputise in the Super Cup and will hope to make an impression.

The Spaniard, also 29, was limited to just seven appearances last season, including only four domestic league showings, and he is 27/10 with Coral to help Madrid prevail to nil inside 90 minutes.


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Spain international defender Nacho did manage to gain 23 season outings for Real last term, but was left out of the squad for much of the club’s rampant run to the victorious Champions League final in Milan.

The 26-year-old was an unused substitute in that game and was deployed as a back-up player across Los Blancos’ rearguard for most the domestic term, featuring mainly at centre back.

In this Super Cup encounter with the Bathtubs, Nacho will get another chance to showcase his defensive attributes to Zidane, with key man at the back Pepe still enjoying an extended break after helping Portugal win Euro 2016.

James Rodriguez

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Colombia playmaker Rodriguez was also disappointed not to feature during the European final victory over Atleti last term and reports suggested that he may seek an exit from the Bernabeu, having endured an indifferent spell since arriving for €80m in 2014.

The 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner dispatched 12 goals last term in 42 total outings and is likely to star against Sevilla this Tuesday night, when he is 21/10 to get on the scoresheet anytime within 90 minutes.

Rodriguez was previously linked with the likes of Manchester United but looks set to remain with his current employers, and the South American attacker has a glorious chance to shine in front of Zidane on Norwegian soil.

The 25-year-old has two career goals and an assist against the Bathtubs and he will look to add to those tallies with an eye-catching performance in midweek, after helping his nation finish third at the 2016 Copa America.

Mateo Kovacic

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At the Lerkendal Stadion in Trondheimon, former Inter Milan midfielder Kovacic is another who will be aiming to make a strong impression on his manager, having so far been a bit-part player under the Frenchman.

Zidane has favoured the 22-year-old’s fellow Croatia international Luka Modric in the central areas, along with German pass-master Kroos, but he can strut his stuff in this Super Cup match-up with the latter World Cup winner being absent.

Kovacic featured twice at Euro 2016 for his country and netted just once across 34 Real outings last season, following his €29m arrival from the San Siro in August last year.

The young midfielder has more than enough quality to shine for Madrid throughout the upcoming campaign and is 9/2 to boost his starting chances for the term by netting past Sevilla.

Karim Benzema

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French frontman Benzema was included in the Super Cup squad after battling a hip problem, while the only summer signing so far Alvaro Morata is included, as well as talented wideman Lucas Vazquez.

Mariano Diaz is the the only other forward within Zidane’s side to face Sevilla, but it’s Morata that is likely to become Zidane’s key man up front this term after returning to the club from Juventus for €30m.

Benzema had the summer off after being dismissed from the France set-up and faces a battle with Morata for a starting spot at the Bernabeu. Following a summer watching Euro 2016 from home, the Frenchman is 7/2 to bag the game’s last goal in Norway, ahead of his eighth term in Madrid.


Read our extensive La Liga archive ahead of the new season kicking off.

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Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.