Sevilla’s run to the Europa League title last year was anything but pretty but a combination of perseverance and teamwork got them over the line in the end. They claimed the trophy with a penalty shoot out win over Portuguese side Benfica to earn their third Europa league title in 8 years making them one of the most successful teams in the tournaments history. Going into yesterday’s European Super Cup Final game in Cardiff, Sevilla were optimistic about adding another piece of European silverware to their trophy cabinet. However standing in their way was an all star cast in the form of Real Madrid. The current European champions have strengthened their already impressive lineup this summer with World Cup stars Toni Kroos, Keylar Navas and James Rodriguez arriving at the club. With Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale also in their ranks, manager Carlo Ancelotti is building what will be a team that will strike fear into many. Few column inches have been spared as journalists wax lyrically about the new Galacticos and what could well be a new era of domination for Real Madrid.
Yesterday Sevilla became the first team to experience this new look Madrid side on a competitive level and the world watched on with interest too. The question on everyone’s lips was simple: Could Real live up to the hype and dominate European football like they did in the late 90’s/early 2000’s? On the basis of the final yesterday, the answer looks to be yes with the star studded line up playing fast paced flowing football. With Cristanio Ronaldo and local boy Gareth Bale, returning to Wales with Real for the first time since his world record £85.3million move from Tottenham last summer, running the wings and controlling the play, Madrid took control of the game early on. New boy Toni Kroos looked comfortable in central midfield alongside Croat Luka Modric and helped with the tempo of the game, spreading the ball wide to Madrid’s two wingers and giving supply to fellow arrival James Rodriguez. The Colombian youngster, who picked up the golden boot at the World Cup, operated in an attacking midfield role just behind lone striker Karim Benzema and offered flashes of what we can expect to see from him this season. It’s hard to imagine Madrid improving but if they finally land Radamel Falcao from Monaco after a long hard summer of chasing the Colombian striker, Madrid will have the final piece to their puzzle in their quest to build the new Galacticos.
In the end two strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo settled the game and put Real Madrid on the path towards a potential haul of six trophies. There is a long way to go and Real will face several bumps along the way however with a squad like this, it’s hard to see anyone beating Madrid this season in any competition. Sevilla proving a solid test for Madrid and came close on a few occasions to snatching victory in the face of defeat but were unable to convert their chances. Sevilla have enough about them to challenge next season but in a league that has seen both Real Madrid and Barcelona spend over £100 million in transfers this summer, their chances will be limited.