Real Madrid: 5 players who must shine vs Athletic Club in the Supercup

Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Karim Benzema
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images) /

CF Karim Benzema

They may also need some magic from striker Karim Benzema, who has run a little cold again recently. He had six goals and two assists during Real’s big winning streak, but the legendary No. 9 has not scored or assisted in the last three La Liga matches, which include disappointing draws to relegation candidates Elche and Osasuna.

Benzema was brilliant vs. Bilbao in mid-December with a brace, but it may be more difficult for him to strike twice in the Spanish Supercup a second time around. That said, there is something working in his favor, and that is a healthy Eden Hazard. Refer to this year’s 4-1 win over Huesca, in which Benz scored twice, for an example of how lethal the Hazard and Benz connection can be.

CB Raphael Varane

Real Madrid defeated Athletic Club 3-1 in December after receiving a boost when noted troublemaker Raul Garcia was sent off early. Garcia is a regular thorn in Real’s side and a player no other fanbase in La Liga has kind words for. But his absence helped Real a lot, since he was not there to press or get into scoring positions. He is Athletic Club’s second-biggest threat after Inaki Wiliams.

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The onus is on Raphael Varane to have another great game defensively, especially when Bilbao hit Los Merengues on the counter. Williams and Garcia will target Varane in possession, attempting to get the weaker of the two center backs at playing the ball to make a mistake. Varane has always bounced back in the last year whenever called into question, and I could see him having a Man of the Match-type performance this Thursday in the Supercup.