Real Madrid won their second International Champions Cup title in a week on July 30th, beating AC Milan in a hard-fought penalty kick shootout to claim victory in the International Champions Cup 2015 China incarnation of the football tournament. Just days before, on July 24th, the Vikings had beaten Manchester City 4-1 to clinch the Australian incarnation of the 2015 ICC.
Unfortunately, Real aren’t participating in the third and final edition of this year’s International Champions Cup, which is currently taking place in North America and Europe. Still, two tournament victories in a single month is nothing but good news for the 2014 – 2015 La Liga runners-up, and shows that Cristiano Ronaldo and company haven’t lost a step in the transition from Carlo Ancelotti to new manager, Rafael Benitez.
The China ICC
For the Australia edition of the 2015 International Champions Cup, Real Madrid had been up against Manchester City and AS Roma. They actually lost their tournament-opening match against Roma, losing 6-7 on penalty kicks, after a scoreless match. However, the big 4-1 win over Man City put the wearers of the Real Madrid home shirt 2015 – 2016 above their competitors and earned the Spanish football club a quick friendly tournament title.
Like the Australia tournament, the China edition of the ICC featured three teams: Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and AC Milan. Needless to say, Real were tipped as the favorites to win the event, considering how both Milan soccer clubs have struggled to win games consistently in recent seasons. Those betting on Real Madrid to win were right on the money: the Vikings won both of their fixtures, though AC Milan actually came closer to stealing the title than many would have expected.
Inter Milan were the clear losers of the China ICC, failing to win a match or even score a single goal. The first game of the tournament, a crosstown rival battle between AC and Inter, saw Internazionale losing 0-1. The outcome was surprising, if only considering the fact that Inter actually did slightly better than AC Milan on the 2014 – 2015 Serie A table. Inter finished eighth, with 55 points, while AC ended up at 10th with 52 points.
Less surprising was the match between Real Madrid and Inter Milan, which ended 3-0 in favor of the Vikings. Real didn’t even need Cristiano Ronaldo to score a goal in order to formulate their decisive victory. In fact, Ronaldo was substituted 46 minutes in, with younger players like Jese, Raphael Verane, and James Rodriguez knocking down the goals. Jese and Verane are both 22, while Rodriguez is 24.
Real Madrid vs. AC Milan
Easily the most exciting match of the International Champions Cup in China was the July 29th battle between Real Madrid and AC Milan. Since both teams had won their matches against Inter Milan, and since the ICC is scored based on a group stage model, the winner of this fixture would also win the football tournament.
But while the Vikings had demolished Internazionale, they had to work very hard to manage a win against AC Milan. From possession to scoring opportunities, the two soccer squads looked pretty evenly matched for the bulk of the game, leaving the score drawn at 0-0 after regulation time ran out. Extra time did nothing to break the stalemate, and for a while, it looked like a penalty shootout wasn’t going to break the tie either.
Indeed, this particular shootout saw 22 different players take the pitch before finally ending 10-9 in Real’s favor. Both squads sunk their first two shots, before Milan’s Carlos Bacca missed to give Madrid the advantage. On shot number five, though, Toni Kroos missed his shot, leaving the shootout tied at 4-4. It wasn’t until shot number 11 that the Vikings finally got the leg up they needed: Real’s substitute goalkeeper, Kiko Casilla, hit the back of the net; Milan’s substitute keeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, didn’t. Just like that, the game and the tournament were both over.
Do these two International Champions Cup victories bode well for Real Madrid and their forthcoming 2015 – 2016 campaign? Or will the Vikings fall behind FC Barcelona once more? Only time will tell, but you can root for the Spanish soccer club today, with a new Real Madrid shirt 2015 – 2016 from Soccer Box! Use the coupon code “BLOG2015” to save 12.5% on the new football shirt.