Real Madrid will field a strong lineup for the second match of their tour of the United States against Roma, but will again be without Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star has continued to train alone and will sit out all of Madrid’s matches in the U.S, in an effort to build up his fitness after injuries hampered him toward the end of last season and during the World Cup with Portugal. But after recording a 1-1 draw with Inter Milan before losing on penalties in their opening match of the International Champions Cup, manager Carlo Ancelotti is set to hand first appearances of preseason to Sergio Ramos, Fabio Coentrão, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
While Ronaldo is in Dallas training ahead of the match at the Cotton Bowl, new summer signings Toni Kroos and James Rodríguez are continuing to enjoy time off following their exploits during the World Cup. That is also true for midfielders Sami Khedira and Ángel di María, whose futures remain in doubt following the European champions’ summer spending.
Alongside Isco, Asier Illarramendi, Dani Carvajal, Pepe and either Lucas or Raúl de Tomás, Gareth Bale will again be in the starting lineup. The Welsh winger, who struck as Los Blancos beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final in May, scored in Madrid’s opening game of preseason in Berkley, California, on Sunday. And after his protracted record-setting transfer from Tottenham last summer was followed by a series of niggling injuries and a slow start to his Real Madrid career, Ancelotti believes Bale will benefit from being involved in preseason from the start this time around.
“He is working well and has a great attitude,” the Italian said after the win over Inter, according to Real Madrid’s official website. “He will improve and this will be a very different campaign for him, especially in terms of the start of the seasons, as he didn't have a pre-season last year.”
After finishing second in Serie A last season to get back into the Champions League, Roma have already made a splash in the transfer market this summer. One of Europe’s finest left-backs over the past decade, Ashley Cole, has arrived from Chelsea, along with former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita, Italy international defender Davide Astori, Turkey midfielder Salih Ucan and former Milan man Urby Emanuelson. And that’s before they made their biggest signing of the summer with the capture of young Argentinean attacking midfielder Juan Iturbe.
There was no doubt who stole the show in Roma’s first match of the international Champions Cup, however. Despite going down 3-2 to Manchester Untied in Denver on Saturday, the match will be remembered for a stunning 60-year goal from Bosnian playmaker Miralem Pjanic. Before that Roma beat Liverpool 1-0 in Boston to begin their preparations for the start of the Serie A season on the last weekend of August.
Where to watch: The International Champions Cup Group A match will kick off from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas at 9.15 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 2 and ESPN Deportes, with a live stream available via Fox Soccer 2Go and Watch ESPN.