A brace of goals from Cristiano Ronaldo ensured Real Madrid got their hands on some pre-season silverware as they saw off Chelsea at the home of the Miami Dolphins to win the International Champions Cup last time out.
Inter Milan are next up to put their heads on the block and another victory for Los Merengues – who are as short as 1.55 for success, with the draw at 3.75 and the Serie A side at 5.00 – is expected.
Chelsea had looked set to provide Carlo Ancelotti’s men with their sternest pre-season test to date, having been unbeaten in five leg-stretchers before they contested the final.
The two of those that took place under the auspices of the ICC competition had seen the Blues swat aside Milan clubs AC and Inter, but Chelsea were still no match for Real and in particular a revved-up Ronaldo, who showed his awe-inspiring class once again, courtesy of a 30-yard free-kick and a bullet header from an Isco cross.
Given their own 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea, Inter – who were also thrashed 4-0 by a Valencia side now without the departed Roberto Soldado – can have little hope of avoiding defeat at the hands of Madrid in St Louis.
Life for the Italians has yet to be buffed to a positive sheen under new broom Walter Mazzarri, who replaced Andrea Stramaccioni this summer following four highly productive seasons at Napoli.
What successes there have been have come against low-level domestic opposition and their four matches against top-flight European foes have failed to yield a single victory, with the Nerazzurri notching just two goals.
Once again against Chelsea last time out, Ancelotti’s Real conceded and looked vulnerable defensively, meaning they’ve now conceded in four of their six pre-season friendlies, with English second-tier outfit Bournemouth one of those they managed to shut out.
This will undoubtedly be cause for consideration for the Italian ahead of the fixture against Inter and despite the faith he has shown in Pepe during pre-season, Raphael Varane – whose return to first-team action after knee surgery is imminent – will feel he has every chance of displacing his comrade if making a positive impact when given his chance.
Regardless of who lines up against Mazzarri’s men, the Nerazzurri’s lack of attacking fluency under their new manager should ensure an easier night for the Real defence than the one they experienced against Chelsea.