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Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu: Glory Days



Tonight Milan visit Madrid to face our biggest European opponent, Real Madrid. In our glory days, Milan were Real Madrid’s biggest challenger for Champions League Titles. In 2007, when Milan last won the Champions League for our seventh title, Real Madrid had nine titles. But while Milan fell into the abyss of mismanagement, Los Blancos won four more titles, including the last three in a row. However their glory days look to be in jeopardy now that their marquee player, Cristiano Ronaldo, left the club for Serie A. While their roster is still far more competitive than Milan’s, this friendly could be a little more interesting in his absence.

Bringing the glory days back?

Real Madrid set out to become one of the richest clubs in the world, and they certainly have done well enough in that way. Likewise, the Bernabeu is one of the most prestigious venues in the world, too. It is there that our young Milan squad will play this match against Lopetegui’s slightly diminished side. Under Zidane’s stewardship and with Ronaldo, they only managed to finish third in La Liga, but they did pull off an unprecedented third Champions League title in a row. Lopetegui is fresh off his stint as coach of Spain, where he was fired from two days before the World Cup for divulging that he would be taking the reins of Real Madrid after the World Cup is over. I guess you could say that they are a team with something to prove, even if this is only a friendly.

Gattuso has everything to prove in a friendly against a team like Real Madrid. He helped to lift our last Champions League trophy, and played for Milan in their glory days. Now he and his fellow former Milan players Leonardo and Maldini are all anxious to return the club to its glory days as soon as possible. Having brought in former Real Madrid striker Higuain should help with our scoring deficiency of recent years, but the team are still very young and lack both the experience and quality of Lopetegui’s side.

Higuain likely to debut for Milan against his former club

There is one stat that is on our side as we travel to Madrid: Milan have contested for this trophy three times, and have won by defeating Real Madrid two of those three times. Another positive is that Montolivo was not called up for the match, the only player missing without injury or impending transfer. Speaking of injuries, Strinic, Reina, and Abate are all missing with minor injuries. Silva, Antonelli, and Locatelli did not travel with the team due to their impending medicals ahead of planned transfers. Despite only one week left before the season kicks off, Milan’s circumstances this summer have left the majority of our transfer activity for the last minute, so Gattuso’s side that he has tonight my still change significantly before our first competitive match.

This match means nothing, really, although there is a trophy for the winning team. I suppose it would be a source of pride for Real Madrid to win it, especially since they have won the last twelve consecutive editions of the Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu. But in actuality, it is a good opportunity for a test against European rivals ahead of the kickoff of their forthcoming seasons. And maybe, just maybe, with both clubs in varying stages of rebuilding, it will provide us with a glimpse of their respective glory days.


This post inspired by the music of Imagine Dragons


the Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid vs. AC Milan
Saturday, August 11 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)
This match will NOT be shown LIVE on TV in the U.S.
Real Madrid TV will air the match via realmadrid.com, Facebook, and Twitter