Isco and Casemiro shine to win UEFA Super Cup for Real Madrid

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Spanish and European champions Real Madrid has successfully defended their UEFA Super Cup title after a 2-1 win over Manchester United, thanks to goals from Casemiro and Isco.

Real dominated possession for much of the time despite the warm temperatures in the Philip II Arena in Macedonia, despite occasional skirmishes up front made by the Red Devils.

Casemiro — who earlier hit the woodwork for Real — opened the scoring through a half-volley after twenty minutes, while Isco calmly slotted in from eight yards after a neat one-two with Gareth Bale less than eight minutes after the break.

Manchester United managed a reply as summer signing Romelu Lukaku tapped in following Nemanja Matic’s effort, despite being second best and rarely threatening the Real defense.

The match, which was twice stopped for scheduled cooling breaks implemented by governing body UEFA, then continued with Real peppering the United side with attempts on goal.

As a large roar welcomed Cristiano Ronaldo was given the final few minutes, Los Blancos then finished the game in jubilation and become the first team to retain the Super Cup since 1990.

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Manchester United will start their new Premier League season at home against West Ham United under more welcoming weather, and while Real would celebrate a deserved trophy they would keep an eye on the horizon — they will be facing arch-rivals Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Sunday in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup in back-to-back El Clasico fixtures.

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal must avoid bad Premier League start

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Arsene Wenger has called on Arsenal to build on their Community Shield victory against Chelsea by avoiding a bad start for their new Premier League season.

Wenger is under heavy criticism and scrutiny after signing a two‑year contract last May despite a campaign in which his side failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1997.

However, he appeared an emboldened figure after his side overcame the champions at Wembley on Sunday via a 4-1 penalty shootout victory after the contest had ended 1-1 in normal time, culminating in Arsenal’s 15th community shield win.

The shootout was the first in this country to deploy the ABBA system. Following successive misses by Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, and record signing, Alvaro Morata, Olivier Giroud scored the decisive spot kick for Arsenal to give them victory over Chelsea for the second time in 71 days following their triumph in the FA Cup final in May.

Still, Wenger believes that the victory counts as “an encouragement” and now wants his side to avoid their poor starts to the previous two Premier League campaigns, when they lost their opening fixtures on both occasions, in order to mount a serious Premier League title challenge.

“We want to find a balance between the confidence we can get out of this game and the urgency every Premier League game demands,” he said after the game against Chelsea.

“We had some bad starts recently but we have had intensity in our preparation, so let’s go into the Premier League with the same discipline, the same spirit and see where we can go.”

Diego Simeone plays down Diego Costa transfer links

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Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has refused to be drawn into speculations that links Chelsea’s Diego Costa with his club.

Costa, who had been a part of Simeone’s team before his switch to Chelsea in the summer of 2014, became unsettled with the Blues at the turn of this year, with current Chelsea coach Antonio Conte informing the player that he does not play a part in the Italian’s plans.

At present, Costa looks headed for a return to the Spanish capital, and even went live on social media wearing an Atletico jersey during his summer break at Brazil.

However, he does not look headed for a return to La Liga anytime soon as Atletico are currently under a FIFA transfer ban. With the club already forcing through a controversial move for Sevilla winger Vitolo, Simeone seemed reluctant to entertain the links for a Costa move when addressing the media after a 3-2 friendly win at Brighton and Hove Albion.

“I don’t want to comment too much,” he said during the press conference after the game. “The fact is he is still with Chelsea. The most important thing to me is the work of my club in general, not only in training. I have to work with what I have.”

“When I found there was no other possibility to get new players at the club I accepted it. Maybe I could improve the quality, but for the moment with this team I can work very well and I’m satisfied with that.”

But there could yet be hope for Costa even as Chelsea insists that the player has been aware of their position on his future since January this year, with AC Milan sporting director Marco Fassone saying that he has held talks with the player’s agent Jorge Mendes.

 

Gareth Bale: Welsh forward told he is future of Real Madrid

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Gareth Bale has been assured that he is the future of Real Madrid and they will not try to buy Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe until next summer.

Bale has acknowledged that he is content about his situation at Real and have signed a contract extension last autumn.

However, despite the contractual agreement that ends in 2022 that also made Bale become one of the the world’s highest-paid players, Real have expressed a firm interest in Monaco youngster Mbappe throughout the summer.

Still, Los Blancos just stopped short of going all-out by informing Bale that they are unlikely to attempt to buy the 18-year-old striker in the near future.

Real’s move, however temporary would assure Bale’s status as one of Real’s prime assets and, with Cristiano Ronaldo turning 33 in February, the European champions view the Welshman as having a long‑term future in Zinedine Zidane’s side.

There had been many an obstacle against Bale’s flourishing at Real. Despite a fruitful debuting season in Spain, the former Tottenham star had been limited to rare appearances as injuries plagued his playtime, with another injury scare occurring last Tuesday after he was forced out of Tuesday’s training session with an ankle complaint.

Zidane had since provided assurance, one week ahead of Real’s UEFA Super Cup clash with Manchester United, that Bale has been showing encouraging signs both in terms of fitness and form during pre-season.

“He looks good to me, little by little,” he told a news conference. “He’s had a long injury, (but) the pre-season has been very good since the beginning. I’m not worried about his performance, because the whole team has had good moments and not as good moments.”