Real Madrid have been pitted against their fierce Clasico rivals Barcelona in the final of the Supercopa de Espana on Sunday night.
Carlo Ancelotti steered Madrid to a double of the league and Champions League last season. But his squad of fiercely ambitious winners immediately set their sights on snatching all six trophies on offer in 2022/23.
“From the moment we began preseason,” Lucas Vazquez revealed in the summer, “it’s been in our heads: ‘Win the UEFA Super Cup, win La Liga, win the Champions League, win the Spanish Super Cup, win the Copa del Rey, win the World Club Cup. Win the lot!'”
With the UEFA Super Cup already secured, here’s the XI Ancelotti may deploy to tick off a second title on their way to a sextuple.
Karim Benzema is responsible for the fastest goal in Clasico history, netting after just 21 seconds in 2011 / FAYEZ NURELDINE/GettyImages
GK: Thibaut Courtois – No team has scored more goals against Courtois than representatives from Barcelona, rattling 35 strikes past the Belgian in 21 games.
RB: Dani Carvajal – In a bid to reduce the mounting number of injuries he collected, Carvajal adheres to a stringent diet that prohibits the consumption of gluten, wheat, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.
CB: Nacho Fernandez – Despite being a diabetes sufferer since childhood, Nacho has consistently warranted a place in Madrid’s squad over the last decade.
CB: Antonio Rudiger – The thoroughly down-to-Earth centre-back isn’t likely to feel many nerves before Sunday’s final – or anything as trivial as a football match. “Where I come from, pressure is not about football,” he told the Players’ Tribune. “Pressure is not knowing what you will eat tomorrow.”
LB: Ferland Mendy – The only time Mendy has been part of a team to concede as many as five goals outside of France was against Barcelona in 2019.
CM: Fede Valverde – When Real Madrid dumped Barcelona out of the Spanish Super Cup last season, Valverde scored the extra-time winner, finishing off a devastating counter-attack.
CM: Toni Kroos – Barcelona’s manager and former captain Xavi described Kroos as Madrid’s “engine” in 2017 and admitted: “He has a way of playing that reminds me a lot of myself. He is like my…