UEFA has confirmed the Champions League and other European club competitions will feature in the Football Manager video game series for the first time this year.

The latest instalment of Sports Interactive and SEGA's hugely popular series, Football Manager 2023, will be released on November 8.

Players will now be able to compete in fully licenced editions of the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League and Super Cup, while the Women's Champions League will appear in a future version of the game.

Sports Interactive's studio director Miles Jacobsen revealed last July that the game's creators plan to introduce women's football in the future.

A UEFA press release read: "The UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League and UEFA Super Cup will feature for the first time ever in Sports Interactive's and SEGA's iconic series, Football Manager. 

"Although it will not feature in Football Manager 2023, the flagship women’s football club competition, the UEFA Women's Champions League, is also included in the licencing agreement and will debut in a future version of the game."

Jacobsen said: "Adding these historic competitions is an ideal fit for all parties involved and will add another dynamic and challenging element for fans that makes this year's edition the most realistic football management simulation available."

Real Madrid were simply "on another level" to Eintracht Frankfurt, according to head coach Oliver Glasner, who nevertheless demanded his team find a way to improve further.

Glasner's Eintracht side were comfortably beaten 2-0 by the Champions League winners in the Super Cup on Wednesday.

David Alaba put Madrid ahead in the first half at Helsinki Olympic Stadium, before Karim Benzema netted midway through the second half to put the result to bed.

In the process, Benzema became Madrid's outright second-highest goalscorer, having scored 324 times for Los Blancos.

While Glasner did not believe his side delivered the "special" defensive performance he asked for before the game, he knows Madrid are a difficult team to match.

"I think we improved from the last game [a 6-1 defeat to Bayern Munich], but you can't give Madrid two chances," Glasner told a news conference.

"The team did it well most of the time. After that, it was difficult and, in the end, Real Madrid was the better team and they deserved the win."

He added: "I think you could see we had defensive stability for many periods today. The last ball, the last pass, did not come enough.

"We want to improve, we need to improve at this, but the performance today left me quite optimistic. We've seen at this level, this kind of opponent, it's not quite enough.

"It's nagging at me, but I have to accept it and it's important now to have that ambition, the whole team, club and staff to work really hard to make that one step closer to such teams. Real Madrid are on another level. We knew that beforehand, but I am not like that, I want to improve.

"I think all of us, the whole team, we played at our highest level. The fact is that it wasn't enough against Real Madrid. Now it's about pushing our personal level a little higher, as a team. That is the task that is presented to us right now. If all of my players are as motivated as I have seen, we will increase our level."

Eintracht were without Filip Kostic, with the wing-back on the verge of moving to Juventus. Nevertheless, they had some good opportunities, particularly early on, when Daichi Kamada forced a fine stop out of Thibaut Courtois, who has saved all 19 shots on goal he has faced from opposition players in his four finals with Madrid in domestic and UEFA competitions.

"It was a decisive situation. I don't know if it would have been enough but, of course, it would have been easier to lead the game at 1-0," Glasner said.

"Against teams like Real Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona, you have to create your chances when you get them. How early Courtois sees where Kamada would put the ball was really world class. He showed this in the Champions League final against Liverpool."

Casemiro has crowned team-mates Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as "possibly the best two midfielders in the world".

Madrid ran out 2-0 winners over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup on Wednesday, thanks to goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema.

Carlo Ancelotti stuck with the same line-up that had started against Liverpool in May's Champions League final, and midfield trio Casemiro, Kroos and Modric turned in a supreme display.

Modric, the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner, completed 53 of 57 passes (93 per cent) and laid on two chances for team-mates in Helsinki, while Kroos enjoyed 120 touches, completed 97 passes and gained possession nine times.

Only UEFA's man of the match Casemiro (10) bettered that latter figure, and the Brazil international also went close to a spectacular goal when he rattled the crossbar from long range on his weaker left foot – that shot was teed up by Modric.

The trio's performances led Carlo Ancelotti to highlight Madrid's experience as a crucial factor in their victory after full-time, and Casemiro knows he is playing with two of the best in the business.

"We know each other just by looking at one another," he told a post-match news conference.

"I've got an easy job, we're talking about Kroos and Modric who are possibly the best two midfielders in the world. 

"There are things in football that cannot be explained, some things just happen in football. I hope we'll continue to be together for a long time to come."

 

While Madrid's thrilling 2021-22 Champions League triumph saw several energetic cameos by young midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, the 14-time European champions have further bolstered that area of the pitch with the recent acquisition of Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco.

Casemiro welcomes the competition provided by the 22-year-old's arrival and has high hopes for the France international.

"It hasn't annoyed me, everyone knows about my character and loyalty for this club, I'll be working in the same way," Casemiro said.

"You only see the 90 minutes but I'll keep making sacrifices, including on the pitch and in training.

"I think Tchouameni is a top player, this club speaks for itself – everybody gives their all. All I can say to him is keep doing what he's doing, keep showing in training and do it out on the pitch."

Carlo Ancelotti had little hesitancy in hailing Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema as the best player in world football.

Benzema scored Madrid's second goal in a 2-0 Super Cup triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium.

In the process, he became the club's outright second-highest goalscorer, having netted for the 324th time for Madrid.

That nudged the 34-year-old – who has replaced the departed Marcelo as Madrid's club captain – ahead of Los Blancos great Raul, with only Cristiano Ronaldo (450) ahead of him in the record books.

Since the start of last season, Benzema has scored 45 goals in all competitions for Madrid. That is a tally bettered only by new Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski (50), when it comes to players from Europe's top five leagues.

With this year's Ballon d'Or awards taking place prior to the World Cup, Benzema seems a certainty to be in the running for the prize.

In a pre-match media briefing on Tuesday, Benzema explained that it was not for him to say if he is the world's best, but instead he would leave it up to others to decide. 

Asked in his post-match news conference if Benzema – who had four shots and created three chances in Madrid's win on Wednesday - could be considered the best player on the planet, Ancelotti was effusive in his reply.

 

"I think [he is the best], yes," Ancelotti said. "He is our most important player right now, the most efficient player in the world at this moment.

"Karim was the most important in the Champions League, even though he did not score in the final, because of his [all-round] game and his goals got us to the final, against Manchester City and Chelsea, against Paris Saint-Germain.

"He's very important for us. There is no doubt, at the moment, that he is the best player in the world."

As well as hailing a standout individual in Benzema, Ancelotti - the first coach to win the Super Cup on four separate occasions - said this Madrid dressing room is the best he has worked with in his illustrious career.

"Yes, absolutely, no doubt about that," the Italian explained. "It is a pleasure to coach this group, it's a healthy atmosphere, good vibes between everyone, winning games and having success helps, but it all about the players."

Carlo Ancelotti has the "desire of a child" to keep winning trophies, according to Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro.

Los Blancos followed up last season's Champions League triumph by beating Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in the Super Cup on Wednesday.

David Alaba put Madrid ahead before Karim Benzema moved to outright second in the club's all-time goalscoring charts with a second-half finish past Kevin Trapp.

Benzema's effort took him to 324 goals in all competitions for Madrid, putting him one ahead of legendary Spain forward Raul and trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo (450).

The triumph in Helsinki makes Ancelotti the first coach to win the Super Cup four times, and Casemiro does not think the Italian is planning to stop collecting the silverware anytime soon.

"I've spoken many times about Carlo Ancelotti, he's a footballing legend," Casemiro, who was named man of the match after a dominant midfield display, told a media conference.

"I speak with my heart when I say how much I admire him. I think he's 63 now, but he still wants to win.

"He has the desire of a child to keep winning, so that's great for us. With the wealth of experience he has, he can bring so much. He has helped us win many trophies.

"He deserves it; he is a wonderful coach and an absolutely fantastic person. When there's a change of the coach it's important to have a winning desire, and we've certainly had that with Carlo Ancelotti."

Madrid will have more players than most involved in the mid-season World Cup in Qatar, yet Casemiro does not think it will have a negative impact on the club's season.

"We don't need to make many changes; we're professional and want to win," the Brazil international said.  

"We're excited about playing at the World Cup. We've never had the opportunity and we're excited to play at one in the middle of the season.

"I don't think it will change a player's mentality. In terms of staying fit I don't think it changes much."

While Ancelotti also has no concerns about the build-up to the tournament, he does worry about the impact of his players not having a proper break before resuming domestic football.

"Until the start of the World Cup we are not going to have any problems," he told reporters.

"They will be focused and fit for the World Cup, but when the players are back that's when we have the doubts.

"Before we don't have a lot of problems. After we have to check, they could be tired. Most of them usually after a World Cup can go on holiday, but after this World Cup they will be going into the tough moment of the season."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez ruled out further additions following Los Blancos' Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt, as he backed the team's ability to cover for talismanic striker Karim Benzema. 

Goals from David Alaba and Benzema – who moved above Raul in Madrid's all-time goalscoring charts – sealed a deserved win for the Champions League holders on Wednesday.

The triumph represented the ideal start to Madrid's 2022-23 campaign and meant the Spanish giants have now won 17 of their last 19 one-legged finals. 

Since winning the Champions League and LaLiga last season, Madrid have added highly rated midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and powerful defender Antonio Rudiger, both of whom appeared from the bench in Helsinki.

And Perez is satisfied with Madrid's business as he ruled out signing a back-up striker to cover for Benzema.

"We have to continue training well, Ancelotti managed the squad, today we don't contemplate anything else," he told Movistar after the match.

"Look at all the strikers we have. If he [Benzema] does [get injured] we have so many strikers that it won't be noticed."

Asked whether he believed the France striker was on course to win the Ballon d'Or, Perez added: "In my opinion he already deserved it last year and this year more."

 

Madrid's victory also saw Carlo Ancelotti surpass Pep Guardiola as the coach with the most Super Cup titles (four) and Perez showered praise upon the European specialist after he brought yet another trophy to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"We've had a good season and this Super Cup makes us very excited," Perez said. "First you have to reach the finals and then win them. We have a great team, it's hard work well done.

"Ancelotti manages this squad very well, it is an important part of the success and we start this new season, which begins on Sunday, with great enthusiasm. 

"This year it is true that everything has gone well for us and nobody can be dissatisfied but you have to keep working, every day you work for your future."

Carlo Ancelotti highlighted the experience and unity of his Real Madrid side as key to their Super Cup win after goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema downed Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki.

Madrid lifted their fifth Super Cup on Wednesday as Ancelotti, who also won the competition in 2003 and 2007 with Milan and 2014 with Los Blancos, became the first coach to claim four victories in the European season's curtain-raiser.

Benzema's goal sealed a 2-0 win and moved him clear of Raul as Real Madrid's second highest all-time goalscorer, with only Cristiano Ronaldo (450) now bettering his tally of 324 strikes for the club. 

But Madrid could have gone behind early on when Thibaut Courtois made a fine one-one-one save from Daichi Kamada, and Ancelotti was delighted by the resilience displayed by his team.

"It was a difficult game, at the start they were so close in a low block, and we had difficulty," he told BT Sport.

"After we scored the first one at the end of the first half, we had more control and deserved to win, we didn't take risks or play with super intensity, but I think we had good control."

Madrid became the first Champions League winners to name the same line-up in the final and the subsequent Super Cup since at least 2006, and the experienced midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro quickly established control after Alaba's opener. 

Frankfurt only managed one shot on target after the break, and Ancelotti believes his team's collective know-how was invaluable. 

"They're used to playing together, they're comfortable," he added. "For them, it's simple to play together, to find the right time of the game to sometimes have a low block or use a counter-attack.

"They are so used to playing together."

Meanwhile, Ancelotti was asked about the future of his son Davide, Madrid's assistant coach who proved a lively presence in the technical area throughout.

Ancelotti revealed he sees Davide as having a future as a head coach, insisting: "He's an assistant now, [but] for sure he will be a coach in the future.

"He is working a lot on the set pieces, he has more energy than me! It's normal."

Having already claimed their first trophy of the season, Madrid begin their LaLiga title defence with a trip to Almeria on Sunday.

Real Madrid have not, yet, rounded off their pre-season. Carlo Ancelotti's team do not start their LaLiga campaign until Sunday, when they take on Almeria.

Yet at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, the Champions League holders picked up where they left off just over two months ago – with European glory.

A 14th European crown came their way in Paris back in May, when Vinicius Junior's goal – combined with Thibaut Courtois' heroics – saw off Liverpool.

And on a comfortable summer's night in Finland on Wednesday, Madrid's assortment of superstars claimed the club's fifth Super Cup with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, as Ancelotti's decision to stick with the team that won at the Stade de France was repaid in full. 

Eintracht, who defeated Rangers to win the Europa League last term, performed admirably, but shorn of Juventus-bound talisman Filip Kostic, the Bundesliga side could not cope with the power and quality at Madrid's disposal.

Not that it would have definitely been any different with Kostic in the team, as this was a game won mostly in midfield, that is where Madrid exerted their dominance. Though on the occasions when Eintracht did threaten, particularly in the opening 30 minutes when Courtois made two impressive stops, it would be easy to imagine Kostic, who crafted 420 chances, provided 56 assists and scored 30 goals across 167 appearances for the club after joining from Hamburg in 2018, would have helped their cause.

In a pre-match news conference on Tuesday, Luka Modric – 37 next month – was asked if he planned on asking Ancelotti to manage his minutes with the mid-season World Cup in mind. 

"I speak to the coach every day, but not about that. The coach knows I like playing and I feel better when I play," Modric replied. "I'm feeling good, available to the team to give my all to help the team in every way. The World Cup doesn't change anything for me."

Karim Benzema, who scored Los Blancos' second to become Madrid's outright second leading goalscorer after Cristiano Ronaldo, added: "Age does not come into it."

Benzema's statement rang true. Madrid's starting midfield three of Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro had a combined age of 98, yet surely covered every blade of grass between them, both on and off the ball.

Having spent much of the opening stages looking to drop into space and ping searching diagonals out to Vinicius Junior, who along with Federico Valverde and Eder Militao adds the effervescence of youth to the starting XI, Modric grew into the game as it wore on, finding the pockets of space only he can.

 

The Croatian's mercurial talents were on full show early in the second half, after David Alaba had put Madrid ahead – his tap-in having been teed up by a combination of Benzema and Casemiro. 

In the space of five minutes, Modric linked up exquisitely with Benzema to find Ferland Mendy and create a chance for Vinicius Junior to test Kevin Trapp, who was well beaten from the next opportunity Modric teed up – Casemiro rattling the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Modric's race was run after Benzema made it 2-0 with his 324th Madrid goal (only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more), and the playmaker headed for the bench having completed 53 of 57 passes (93 per cent), with two of those leading directly to opportunities, though those statistics do not tell the whole story. He was simply spellbinding at times, deft flicks and quick feet toying with Frankfurt's hopes and dreams.

And what of Casemiro? His tally of nine tackles led the game, with a sliding challenge on Jesper Lindstrom in the 51st minute a highlight.

Kroos, as Kroos does, went about his business efficiently, without breaking stride. He strolled off with five minutes remaining, making way for big-money signing Aurelien Tchouameni having had 120 touches, completed 97 passes and gained possession nine times, second only to UEFA's man of the match Casemiro (10).

 

Ancelotti, who has now won the Super Cup a record four times after previous success with Madrid (2014) and Milan (2003, 2007), was able to change things up late on, with Antonio Rudiger joining Tchouameni for a competitive debut, but 34-year-old Benzema who lasted the duration.

Benzema's goal came from a familiar source. Vinicius found space down the left channel, drilled in a cross and his partner in crime was there to finish it off. The Brazil forward has now assisted Madrid's number nine 16 times. 

It was he, as Madrid's new club captain following Marcelo's departure, who lifted the trophy. If this evidence, with a team still rounding off their preparations, is anything to go by, it will not be the last piece of silverware he lifts this season.

Karim Benzema moved to second in Real Madrid's all-time goalscoring charts as Los Blancos followed up May's Champions League win by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in the Super Cup.

David Alaba prodded home when Eintracht failed to deal with a first-half corner to give Carlo Ancelotti's men the lead in Helsinki, before Benzema fired past Kevin Trapp 20 minutes after the break to seal the win.

Benzema's effort took him to 324 goals in all competitions for Madrid, putting him one ahead of legendary Spain forward Raul and trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo (450).

Having made a bright start, Europa League victors Eintracht were ultimately second best as Madrid cruised to victory, offering a reminder of their nous on the European stage at the outset of the new season.

Eintracht missed the first clear chance when Daichi Kamada forced Thibaut Courtois into a superb one-on-one save after 14 minutes, before Tuta denied Vinicius Junior with an incredible goal-line block two minutes later.

Vinicius again went close when Trapp tipped his low effort around the post 36 minutes in, but Madrid broke the deadlock from the resulting corner as Casemiro nodded down for Alaba to convert into a gaping net.

Benzema flashed a fierce volley wide of the bottom-left corner as Madrid ended the first half on top, before Trapp made a reflex save from Vinicius' left-footed strike 10 minutes after the break.

With Madrid establishing greater control, Casemiro rattled the crossbar with a sweet left-footed strike from range before Courtois made a routine save when Ansgar Knauff led a rare Eintracht foray. 

But Benzema, the outstanding candidate for the Ballon d'Or, was determined to have the final say, drilling Vinicius' cut-back under Trapp to ensure LaLiga champions Madrid would take another piece of silverware back to the Spanish capital.

What does it mean? Another title for continental kings Madrid

Madrid won the Super Cup for the fifth time on Wednesday, as they atoned for a memorable defeat in their last appearance in the competition (4-2 v Atletico Madrid in 2018).

The results means the Champions League holders have won nine of the last 10 editions while the Spanish giants have won 17 of their last 19 one-legged finals.

Karim the dream

Benzema's unbelievable return of 15 Champions League goals helped Madrid to their 14th European crown last season, and the France star picked up where he left off to steal the headlines in Finland.

Only Ronaldo has now outscored Benzema in the famous white shirt, while his bid to be named the world's best player has gone from strength to strength. 

Don Carlo reigns again 

Ancelotti became the first coach to win four European Cup/Champions League titles with May's hard-fought final win over Liverpool, and his latest success saw him become the Super Cup's most decorated boss.

His fourth triumph in the competition (having also won with Milan in 2003 and 2007 and Madrid in 2014) saw him move one clear of Pep Guardiola. 

What's next?

Madrid begin the defence of their LaLiga title at Almeria on Sunday, while Frankfurt go to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday. 

Karim Benzema became Real Madrid's outright second-highest goalscorer as he overtook Raul by netting in the Super Cup.

Benzema tied level in second place on the club's list of scorers back in May, when he equalled Los Blancos great Raul on 323 goals with a header in a 6-0 rout of Levante.

He is now alone in second, on 324, after netting Madrid's second against Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday in Helsinki.

With David Alaba having put Madrid ahead in the first half, Benzema made it 2-0 in the 65th minute as he struck up with Vinicius Junior for a familiar combination.

Vinicius assisted Benzema 10 times last season, and the Brazil winger's cross from the left side of the area presented Madrid's new club captain with the chance to side-foot home a first-time finish that crept through Kevin Trapp.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a remarkable 450 goals during his nine-year spell at Santiago Bernabeu between 2009 and 2018, stands ahead of Benzema, though it would seem unlikely the 34-year-old France striker will go on to match that record.

 

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti named the same team to start against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup as he did for the Champions League final victory over Liverpool.

Ancelotti had already confirmed his team would be the same as the one that started in Paris, and he followed through on that pledge for Wednesday's clash in Helsinki.

Thibaut Courtois was the star of the show in the 1-0 win over Liverpool on May 28, and the Belgian kept his place in goal behind a defence of Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba and Ferland Mendy, with new arrival Antonio Rudiger among the substitutes.

Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro were given the nod in midfield, while Federico Valverde and Vinicius Junior – who combined for the winner at the Stade de France – would flank Karim Benzema, who is one goal away from passing Raul as the outright second-highest goalscorer in Madrid's illustrious history, behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Madrid's bench included Rodrygo, a hero of their Champions League campaign, and Aurelien Tchouameni, another new signing.

Meanwhile, Eintracht coach Oliver Glasner made two changes to his starting XI following Saturday's 6-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

One of those alterations was enforced, with star player Filip Kostic absent from the squad as he closes in on a move to Juventus.

He has been replaced by Christopher Lenz, while former Bayern and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Gotze made way for Daichi Kamada.

Madrid are in the hunt for a fifth Super Cup triumph. The last time Los Blancos met Eintracht, they triumphed 7-3 in Glasgow in the 1960 European Cup final.

Football might not be the first thing that springs to mind if you were to think of Finland.

Long winter nights, saunas, Lapland, reindeer. A quick google search highlights telecommunications company Nokia as its most famous exporter, and that it is renowned for being "the happiest country in the world" with the best education system and cleanest air… oh, and the hotel where this reporter has been staying boasts "the best tap water in the world", too.

Little mention of football, though. After all, ice hockey is the prominent sport here.

Finland qualified for Euro 2020, but their sole win in the competition was overshadowed by the fact it came in a game in which Denmark's Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch in Copenhagen, having suffered a cardiac arrest. It was the nation's first appearance at a major international tournament.

Not that there haven't been some notable Finnish players down the years. Jari Litmanen played for Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona throughout a long career. Sami Hyypia spent a decade at Anfield from 1999 to 2009, while Jussi Jaaskelainen played in the Premier League for 18 years over spells with Bolton Wanderers and West Ham. Laura Osterberg-Kalmari was nominated for FIFA Women's Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

More recently, Teemu Pukki has impressed with Norwich and Lukas Hradecky has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Bundesliga across recent seasons.

Hradecky, now at Bayer Leverkusen, made his name at Eintracht Frankfurt, and it is the German side – Europa League winners last season – who have travelled across the Baltic Sea to take on the might of Champions League holders Real Madrid in the Super Cup.

Litmanen, Osterberg-Kalmari and Jaaskelainen were all guests at UEFA's fan park on Tuesday, a day ahead of the match at the 36,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.

The Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup trophies were on show, though outside the fan park it would have been easy to miss that there was a major European match heading to the city. Indeed, on the opposite side of Helsinki’s grand central train station to UEFA's festivities, a music and arts festival was drawing a much larger crowd.

That will surely change on Wednesday.

Madrid are expected to bring approximately 1,800 fans. Meanwhile, 10,000 are anticipated to be arriving in support of Eintracht. 

The signs were there even as Stats Perform arrived in Helsinki on Monday, with pockets of Eintracht supporters travelling into the city. A day later, the fan park was mostly populated by local football fans enjoying the rare occasion of such a major sporting event – involving one of the world's biggest clubs – coming to their city.

Helsinki's centre will likely be a hub for Eintracht's travelling masses, and even as Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti ran the rule over his side in an opening training session on Tuesday, fans of the German team were making their presence heard outside the ground as the team coach departed.

It's nothing new, though. Barcelona coach Xavi was left furious last season after 30,000 visiting Eintracht fans were said to have managed to gain entry to Camp Nou to watch their team sensationally knock out Barcelona in the Europa League quarter-finals. For the final against Rangers, held in Seville, authorities estimated that 50,000 Eintracht supporters made their way to the Andalusian city.

"They played a big role, if I remember the game in Barca, 30,000, something special and it helped us a lot to perform at this level. They're not here to sightsee, they're here to support us because they believe in us," said goalkeeper Kevin Trapp in Eintracht's pre-match news conference.

"Tomorrow will be the same, we know there’s going to be 10,000 again. We try to give our best and be able to celebrate again. It's a huge part of this club, this team, it's helping us every time."

Eintracht might have the more raucous travelling support, but any local neutrals are likely to be in attendance to watch the stars of Madrid. Ancelotti, asked about his brief experience of Finland so far, compared the country to Canada, the home of his wife, and in training his team looked sharp as they put on a show for the assorted media and a small group of fans soaking in the late evening sun.

Karim Benzema and Luka Modric accompanied Ancelotti in Madrid's media conference, just two of the superstars set to line up in all-white on Wednesday. Ancelotti, as amiable and as composed as ever, confirmed both players would start – unless they had any objections. His team are just rounding off their pre-season, and there were some signs of players still shaking off some rustiness in the finishing drills that ended their practice session.

Eintracht opened their Bundesliga campaign with a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich, and head coach Oliver Glasner knows that, even if his side are underdogs, they cannot show such naivety against the 14-time European champions. With key player Filip Kostic absent to complete a move to Juventus, Eintracht must avoid another humiliation, even if it is an outstanding achievement to have reached this showpiece in the first place.

As for Helsinki, it might be a far cry from the football hotbeds of Paris, London, Milan, Munich or Madrid, but those cities have their fair share of big matches already. The welcome has been warm, the weather perfect and the stadium – constructed in the 1930s but recently renovated – an ideal venue.

Interviewed after his appearance at the fan park, Litmanen told Stats Perform: "It's very important for us to have this kind of game because we don't see these things very often. We cannot get the Champions League final we haven't been in the World Cup or the European championships. This is a big game for Finland."

Now it's time to enjoy the show.

Eintracht Frankfurt's defence must be "special" to deal with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema-inspired attack in the Super Cup, according to head coach Oliver Glasner.

Europa League winners Frankfurt take on the Champions League victors in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Yet Frankfurt come into the clash on the back of a 6-1 home hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich in their opening Bundesliga fixture on Saturday, while they are also without their creative hub in the form of Filip Kostic, who has been left out of the squad to seal a transfer for Juventus.

While confident his team can come away with a surprise victory at the Olympic Stadium, Glasner acknowledged they must be far less open than they were against Bayern, who were 5-0 up by half-time.

"If we have to play against Real, we need a special defence, especially [against] Benzema, who was the best scorer in the Champions League, really great in box, but it's important that the players who give him passes, whoever plays, that we prevent the players passing into the box because it will always be very difficult to defend Benzema," said Glasner in a news conference.

"That's the idea, act in a compact manner, pressure Madrid so they don't have very much space.

"We're feeling very good, looking very much forward [to the game]. Great compensation for the Europa League final, for the win, playing the Super Cup now, playing a Champions League winner that knocked out Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

"Of course, the team that waits for us is high quality, we want to show our best football, give our best on the pitch... we're not really scared, we're looking forward to it.

"We showed last year on the European stage there's always a chance, we took that chance."

While Frankfurt, who defeated Barcelona en route to winning the Europa League, might be inexperienced when it comes to matches of this magnitude, they have signed a player who is very much accustomed to big occasions in the form of Mario Gotze. 

Former Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Gotze, who scored Germany's winner in the 2014 World Cup final, joined Frankfurt from PSV, and Glasner is delighted with his impact so far.

"We are glad that Mario joined us. He integrated really quickly, his technical qualities, his sense for finding solutions, he's very zealous, running a lot," Glasner said. 

"He already played 50 or 60 Champions League matches, he has a lot of experience at this level, so for him it's not the newest thing to play against teams like Real Madrid."

Another player who has played for one of Europe's biggest clubs is Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, who insisted he will not do anything different to prepare for the game, despite going up against the likes of Benzema and Vinicius Junior.

Trapp said: "There are butterflies in my stomach, but I am happy to play in this game tomorrow.

"It's a huge possibility to show our strengths, but I don't prepare in a special way, everyone knows these players and their qualities, how strong they are.

"My job is always the same, to help the team not concede any goals, that'll be my job, but we will face a lot of quality with Benzema and Vinicius, whoever it is."

Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric does not think it will be crucial for Carlo Ancelotti to manage his minutes this season, despite the upcoming World Cup.

The 2022 edition of FIFA's showpiece tournament takes place in Qatar across November and December, with Modric's Croatia having qualified.

Croatia reached the final of the 2018 tournament in Russia, with Modric starring. He subsequently won the Ballon d'Or, and is the only player not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to scoop that award since 2007, when Kaka took it.

While Ivan Rakitic, the other mainstay of Croatia's midfield over the past decade, and Mario Mandzukic - who led the line in 2018 - have retired from international football (and in the latter's case, from playing altogether), Modric is set to lead his country once again.

Modric will be 37 by the time the World Cup rolls around, with Croatia drawn against Belgium, Canada and Morocco in Group F, but ahead of Wednesday's Super Cup clash with Eintracht Frankfurt, explained that he has not felt the need to talk to Ancelotti about managing how much he plays this campaign.

He told a news conference in Helsinki: "Not at all, I don't see it being different, as I've always said, age doesn't matter. What matters is what you show on the pitch, you don't need to look at your age.

"I speak to the coach every day, but not about that. The coach knows I like playing and I feel better when I play.

"I'm feeling good, available to the team to give my all to help the team in every way. The World Cup doesn't change anything for me, I just have to be ready, train well and be at the coach's disposal."

 

Perhaps to prove a point, Modric, who will have additional competition from new arrival Aurelien Tchouameni this season, was leading the press in a training game between two 11s made up of Madrid's superstar-littered squad at the Olympic Stadium after the media duties had been fulfilled.

Modric, as well as Karim Benzema, was also asked how Madrid could improve on last season, when they won a LaLiga and Champions League double.

"To be at this level you have to work hard and be committed on and off the pitch, that's what we're doing," he added. 

"We have a very good group of players here, we are ready for a good season, we are going to give everything as we do every year."

The equally evergreen Benzema, citing his coach, said: "I think we all agree, if that's what Carlo said!

"Age doesn't come into it, it's true that we're no longer young but we're all working hard, on and off the pitch, resting well between and are able to keep going and performing at a high standard. We have a good squad here, better than last year. We're going to compete for everything."

Erik ten Hag can improve Manchester United's fortunes but will need time to affect change, according to former Ajax and Liverpool midfielder Jari Litmanen.

Ten Hag was appointed manager at Old Trafford in April after a successful period in charge of Ajax, but he suffered a chastening 2-1 home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in his first Premier League game at the helm.

Litmanen had two spells with Ajax during an illustrious playing career, winning five Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups and a Champions League crown.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the UEFA fan park in Helsinki ahead of Wednesday's Super Cup, Finland great Litmanen joked when asked if he believed Ten Hag would be a success at United: "I am for Liverpool, so hopefully not!

"I hope the best for Erik. He is a good person and a good coach, he showed that at Ajax, but he needs time.

"They are a big club, and they will get back to the top, but they need time. Competition is high in England so it is going to be difficult, but Erik is a good manager."

Litmanen also raised the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Old Trafford, despite reportedly asking for a move so he can play in the Champions League this season.

"We will see if he can get the best out of Ronaldo," Litmanen added. "I haven't spoken to Erik so who knows? Maybe Cristiano stays the whole season, he showed he is one of the best goalscorers in history and if he leaves, then someone else will have to take that responsibility."

Litmanen also had an 18-month spell at Liverpool, where he was part of a squad that won the EFL Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup treble in the 2000-01 season.

Although he was used sparingly at Anfield, he did play alongside Reds icon Steven Gerrard, who is now manager of Aston Villa, and Litmanen expects his former team-mate to succeed as a coach in the Premier League.

"Stevie G [Gerrard] is a big name in English football and Liverpool history and he for sure has something to give English football [as a manager]," he said. 

"I was happy to play with him for one and a half years and he is someone who has a great personality."

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