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Preview: Real Madrid vs. AC Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Real Madrid vs. AC Milan - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Real Madrid and AC Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Real Madrid will round off their preparations for the 2021-22 La Liga campaign with a glamour friendly against Italian giants AC Milan in Austria on Sunday night.

Los Blancos are building towards their season opener against Alaves on August 14, while Milan have two more friendlies before beginning their Serie A campaign against Sampdoria on August 23.

Match preview

Real Madrid's squad have taken part in a number of training-ground matches this summer, but they have only played one confirmed friendly and suffered a 2-1 defeat to Rangers in the outing in question on July 25.

The team's preparations for the new season have been far from ideal due to the number of players that have been away following international commitments, but Carlo Ancelotti's squad is now taking shape, with the new La Liga campaign beginning next weekend with a trip to Alaves.

News of Lionel Messi's shock Barcelona exit has rocked the world of football, but Real Madrid have financial issues of their own and have only managed to make one signing this summer, bringing in David Alaba on a free transfer, with Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane both moving on.

For all of the criticism that came the team's way last term, Los Blancos were only two points off champions Atletico Madrid and will believe that they can launch a strong challenge for the title this term.

On paper, the start to the season is kind for Ancelotti's side, and there is certainly a chance that they could be top of the division heading into the first Clasico of the season against Barcelona towards the end of October.

Milan, meanwhile, are technically behind Real Madrid in their preparations for the new season, as the Italian giants do not start their Serie A campaign until August 23, facing a trip to Sampdoria.

However, Stefano Pioli's side have had a busy pre-season in terms of matches, beating Pro Sesto 6-0 and Modena 5-0 in their opening two friendlies of the summer towards the end of July.

Milan then drew 1-1 with Nice on July 31 before losing to Valencia on penalties following a goalless draw at Mestalla on Wednesday night.

The Red and Blacks have been busy during this summer's transfer window, signing Fikayo Tomori, Mike Maignan, Sandro Tonali, Fode Ballo-Toure, Brahim Diaz and Olivier Giroud to boost their squad ahead of the new season.

I Rossoneri finished second behind Inter Milan in Serie A last term, which proved to be their highest placing since the 2011-12 campaign, and the club's supporters will be hoping more progress can be made in 2021-22.

Real Madrid Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • L

AC Milan Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Real Madrid will have a much stronger squad available for this match than was the case against Rangers, but Toni Kroos is out through injury, while Alvaro Odriozola has tested positive for coronavirus.

Karim Benzema is back in training following a positive coronavirus test, while Eden Hazard's fitness has allegedly impressed coaching staff during pre-season, but both players have been left out of the squad, opening the door for Mariano Diaz to start at centre-forward.

There is likely to be a spot in the middle of the defence for summer arrival Alaba, but Ferland Mendy is not yet ready to return from injury.

Gareth Bale is back with Real Madrid this summer and seems set to stay until his contract expires next June, and the Wales international is likely to be involved against Milan.

As for Milan, Pioli made full use of his squad in the clash with Valencia last time out, and there are expected to be wholesale changes throughout the contest against Real Madrid.

Giroud came off the bench on the hour against Valencia and might now be handed a spot in the starting XI, while Maignan, Tomori and Ballo-Toure should also feature from the first whistle.

Tonali and Rade Krunic could feature as the midfield two in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but there will also be appearances for the likes of Alexis Saelemaekers and Tommaso Pobega over the course of the match.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Nacho, Alaba, Militao, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Odegaard; Rodrygo, Mariano, Vinicius

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Conti, Tomori, Romagnoli, Ballo-Toure; Tonali, Krunic; Castillejo, Diaz, Rebic; Giroud

We say: Real Madrid 2-2 AC Milan

There is no reason why this should not be an open game of football, as both teams will be keen to claim a morale-boosting win ahead of their respective seasons. We are expecting goals on Sunday but have ultimately settled on a draw, which neither manager would be too concerned about.

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