For all the prestige associated with being involved in a tournament alongside European giants Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and AC Milan, Spurs fans watching their 2-0 loss to Real can be forgiven for coming away with sobering thoughts of what might have been, rather that what might be.
Seeing former White Hart Lane heroes Gareth Bale and Luka Modric line up against them for the first time since their respective big-money moves away from north London would have been enough to make any Tottenham fan feel a nostalgic pang to the heart.
The shirts might be the same colour, but the white kits now donned by Bale and Modric might as well represent a team from a different planet, never mind country. In a game typical of these pre-season tournaments – low-tempo and risk-averse – Real still managed to exert a casual dominance over their opponents.
Bale even got on the scoresheet late on by punishing some sloppy Spurs passing to fire home from 20 yards after James Rodriguez had opened proceedings with a first-half header.
But despite their former greats now punishing them and few chances being created against an open Real side, there was some Spurs cheer to take from the game ahead of their final pre-season match against AC Milan.
Dele Alli may not be a name familiar to too many outside of Milton Keynes, but the 19-year-old midfielder showed glimpses to suggest that Tottenham’s local merchandise salesmen may well be brushing up on their boxing clichés this season.
Whether he can sting like a bee at the top level is yet to be proven, but the £5m January signing from MK Dons showed he can certainly float like a butterfly after he produced two cheeky nutmegs on his world-class opposition.
While also leaving Toni Kroos red-faced with his nifty footwork, the loudest cheer from Spurs fans would have been reserved for when Alli nonchalantly popped the ball through the legs of old boy Luka Modric.
Of course, a couple of tricks aren’t enough to win a starting place, nor do they warrant some of the “new Gazza” comparisons some overexcited folk are throwing at him. Nonetheless, it can’t be argued that his overall display against the world’s elite exuded a calm that belied his inexperience.
Following Harry Kane’s breakthrough season, Tottenham fans will have high expectations of another youngster making a similar impact from under the radar.
With the England U19 international having scored an impressive 22 goals in 74 league appearances already in his career, Alli’s League One strike rate of a goal every 3.3 games suggests that he has the jab to match the footwork.
But despite the sales of Paulinho and Lewis Holtby, Mauricio Pochettino’s squad still provides plenty of competition in midfield, with the established Christian Eriksen, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Mousa Dembele among those Alli needs to displace.
Given his youth, appearances from the bench remain likely to be his first route into the team, and Alli is an enticing 6/5 to make under 12.5 Premier League starts for Spurs this season.