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A chat with the enemy: Om Arvind gives us the scoop on Real Madrid

We spoke with one of the writers at Managing Madrid about what to expect from this weird match.

Deportivo La Coruna v Real Madrid - La Liga
If you wish to defeat a mecha-piloting Zidane, first you must understand the mecha-piloting Zidane.
Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

We’re still not quite sure about this Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu, so we Om Arvind to explain it to us. He’s one of the brightest writers over at our sister site Managing Madrid and is both a gentleman and a scholar about all things Merengue. So let’s figure out what the heck this trophy is, and what Real Madrid thinks about it, Fiorentina, and the match itself.

What the heck is the Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu, and does anyone care about it?

The Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu is a match/trophy that is dedicated to Real Madrid’s president Santiago Bernabéu. He essentially oversaw Los Blancos’ famous 50's era (where we captured five straight European trophies) and played a pivotal role in transforming Real into the giants that they are today. Having said that, it isn’t something that Madrid fans care about too much, in the sense that we couldn’t care less if we won or lost. It’s more of a tradition thing that’s been used to show off new signings or relive historical matches that have been played in the past (which is the stated goal of this year’s game). Basically, the fans get to come and enjoy a day of relaxation in the Bernabeu, while Real gets to flex its muscles by showing off its rich and storied history.

On a scale of Bielsa (no $%&#s given) to Conte (all $%&#s given) how seriously is Real Madrid going to take this competition?


Who's going to start for Real? What kind of formations and tactics will Zidane use, the usual or something different?

That’s quite a question you have there! Zidane’s personnel and tactics are difficult to predict under normal circumstances, and for a friendly, it’s anyone’s guess. I do think Cristiano Ronaldo will start, since he didn’t have a pre-season and needs to keep match fitness in this period of suspension, but I would be surprised if too many first team regulars started. You’ll probably see significant minutes given to Kovacic, Marcos Llorente, Achraf, Ceballos, Theo, Asensio, and hopefully, Mayoral. As for the tactics… I wouldn’t expect to see anything really notable.

How amped is Cristiano Ronaldo to score goals while he's suspended? Is there any chance at all that he will be merciful?

Probably not as amped up as he used to be. There was a time when Ronaldo was a merciless killer regardless of circumstance or opposition, but with age, he finally seems to have realized that he needs to take it easy while he can. However, Cristiano will probably want to keep himself in tip-top shape, so he might look to snatch a goal or two to ensure the momentum continues. I wouldn’t bet against Ronaldo making an impact.

What could the Viola do to cause problems for the Merengues? Besides, like hit them with two-by-fours or something.

Stay compact and create a specific plan to hit Madrid on the break. Since this is a friendly, our press/defensive organization or whatever probably isn’t going to be that good. That means if you designate attackers as outlet-men, there are going to be gaps and holes appearing in pockets of space for the opposition to exploit. If your passing is sharp, your 1v1 game is good, and support arrives quickly, you can cause us trouble.

What's your prediction for the final score?

Real Madrid 4 - 2 Fiorentina.