Madrid, Aug 18 (IANS) Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui needs his side to kick off their La Liga campaign with a convincing win when they entertain Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Sunday night.
Real Madrid’s 2-4 defeat to Atletico Madrid in Wednesday’s European Supercup final has set alarm bells ringing after a summer which saw Zinedine Zidane step down as coach to be replaced by the former Spain coach and Cristiano Ronaldo move to sign for Juventus, reports Xinhua news agency.
The only new faces so far in the Madrid squad are right back Alvaro Odriozoloa and 18-year-old Brazilian winger Vinicius Jr, who was actually signed a year ago. Consequently the pro-Real Madrid press have spent the past 48 hours focusing on who the club could sign before the transfer window shuts at the end of August.
Valencia striker Rodrigo, a former Real Madrid B-team player, could be the favorite, but there will be no new arrivals before Getafe visit the Bernabeu and Lopetegui will once again look to Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to fill his attack on Sunday.
Bale and Benzema combined well for the Frenchman to score on Wednesday, although Bale faded after halftime and Benzema tended to drop too deep. Meanwhile Asensio was unfortunate not to hit the target with several decent efforts.
Should their fortunes change and Madrid win with ease, it will ease the pressure on Lopetegui, while at the same time making his long term job harder by persuading club president Florentino Perez he doesn’t need to dip into the transfer market again this summer.
The closure of the Italian transfer market means Croatian midfielder Luka Modric will not be moving to Inter Milan this summer and the Croatian will probably start on Sunday, while there is a slight doubt over midfielder Casemiro who limped out of Wednesday’s game.
Lopetegui’s biggest decision this weekend will be whether he continues with Keylor Navas in goal or decides to give a debut to Belgian international Thibaut Courtois, who arrived from Chelsea a fortnight ago.