Gareth Bale has been named in the starting line-up for Real Madrid’s clash with Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje, with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.
The forward has been named alongside Karim Benzema in attack, with Isco deployed in what is likely to be an advanced midfield role in front of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
Ronaldo, who only recently returned to training following an extended break after the Confederations Cup, is among the substitutes.
The decision by head coach Zinedine Zidane is likely to go some way towards quashing speculation about Bale’s future.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) August 8, 2017
The Wales international has been linked with a move to United amid talk of Madrid’s pursuit of Monaco star Kylian Mbappe.
United boss Jose Mourinho stated on Monday that the prospect of signing Bale would become stronger if he were left out of Zidane’s starting line-up.
“Well if he’s playing, no I wouldn’t think of [signing Bale] because it would show he’s in the coach’s plans and the club’s plans and he also has that motivation to continue at Real Madrid,” he said.
“If he is not in the club’s plans, that the arrival of another player would mean he was on his way out, I will try to be waiting for him on the other side and fight with other coaches that would want him on their team.
“But if he plays, that is the best confirmation that he is still wanted by the team.”
United have handed first competitive starts for new signings Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof.
David de Gea starts in goal, with Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also included in a strong starting line-up.
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