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Real Madrid kick off title defence with trip to Real Sociedad

Sports Saturday 19/September/2020 16:16 PM
By: Xinhua
Real Madrid kick off title defence with trip to Real Sociedad

Madrid: Defending La Liga champions Real Madrid kick off their 2020-21 league campaign with a difficult visit to play Real Sociedad on Sunday evening. 

Zinedine Zidane's side didn't play in the first round of matches one week ago, after their game at home to Getafe was postponed in order to allow them more time to recover after their participation in last season's Champions League in August.

Although Madrid did substitute that league game with a friendly against Getafe, which they won 6-0, that remains their only match ahead of the new season, making it hard to draw conclusions over the match fitness of Zidane's men.

The pre-season has helped clear up some issues at Real Madrid, with Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon in London ahead of their planned moves to Tottenham Hotspur, while Brahim Diaz has joined AC Milan on loan.

It also looks as if last summer's major signing Luka Jovic could be heading out on loan, with Borja Mayoral instead being given the chance to provide back-up for striker Karim Benzema.

Much of the pre-match talk has been about the role Martin Odegaard could play after the Norwegian's successful loan spell at Real Sociedad earned him a quick return to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The attacking midfielder will find it tough to break into Zidane's starting 11, but his departure was a blow to Real Sociedad. The Basque side acted quickly and the signing of veteran David Silva to replace Odegaard looks like a smart move, although the former Manchester City man will probably have to settle for a place on the bench after testing positive for COVID-19 on the same day he was presented by the club.

Real Sociedad were a bit flat in their opening day 1-1 draw away to Real Valladolid, but should be sharper after that game and another week's training, and although the stands of the Reale Arena will again be devoid of fans on Sunday night, this should be a tough test of Madrid's ability to defend their title.