Real Madrid open their Champions League three-in-a-row bid tonight as they take on Apoel Nicosia in the Bernabeu. Zinedine Zidane’s side last season became the first club to defend the European Cup in the Champions League era, and few would bet against them to a third consecutive crown this season.
While Los Blancos have stuttered in their last two La Liga games, dropping points to Levante and Valencia, they have huge positives to take from the start of the season.
Wins over Manchester United and Barcelona in the European Super Cup, as well as the Supercopa de España, gave their rivals a taste of what may be in store throughout the year.
Perhaps the major talking point of the season to date has been the rise of Marco Asensio. The 21-year-old shot into the big-time with a 25-yard screamer against Barca, and many are predicting that he will have a big future in the Spanish capital.
However, he will not be available for selection tonight. As reported by the Daily Mail (via ABC Espana), Asensio picked up an infection after shaving his leg.
According to coach Zidane, the playmaker has sustained a pimple on his leg which prevents him pulling up his socks.
While Asensio has been ruled out of the squad, the reigning champions have nonetheless named a star-studded squad that should have enough to see off their Cypriot opponents at home.