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Friendly Overview: Real Madrid beat Manchester United as Arsenal triumph over Barcelona and Inter dr

Real Madrid took on Manchester United in their pre-season tour in the USA, at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Los Blancos emerged as the winners, with Jude Bellingham chipping over Andre Onana as early as six minutes in, and Joselu produced a fabulous bicycle-kick to wrap things up a minute before the 90 were up. To add to the misery of the 20-time English champions,

All in all, it was obviously a good day for Real’s new signings. Not so good for a particular Man United newcomer, though – Andre Onana arguably couldn’t do anything about Joselu’s wondergoal, but he probably should’ve done better for Bellingham’s opener. The Cameroonian goalkeeper grossly misjudged his speed against that of the England international and made it very easy for the England midfielder to put the ball gently over him and into the net. Real were involved in the race for Bellingham for a long time, believed to be competing against Liverpool and Manchester City. The Premier League champions, though surely an attractive prospect for many due to their current quality and the vast success of recent years, were not though to be much of a competition, with Bellingham appearing to prefer a club with plenty of history. So when Liverpool cooled their interest in light of Borussia Dortmund’s vast demands, there was only one place Bellingham was going go to.

Joselu has been brought back to the club for whose Castilla team he played for a long time ago, on loan from Espanyol with an option to buy. He appears to represent a short-term replacement for Karim Benzema upfront, until the club manage to complete the desired acquisition of Paris Saint-Germain rebel, Kylian Mbappe.

Meanwhile, United signed Onana from Inter Milan a few days ago. They had offered David De Gea a new contract, but when the Spaniard declared his intention to leave as a free agent, with his old deal already past its expiration date, they had no choice but to move for a new No. 1. The 27-year-old shot-stopper will be hoping to have gotten his new-club jitters out of the way now so he can show the quality which helped Inter reach the Champions League final last season. Off the pitch, both clubs have been having issues to deal with, not too related to the game itself. Real are reportedly under close scrutiny from UEFA, with their latest financial reports failing to provide a satisfactory explanation for certain expenses worth €122 million. Manchester United, on the other hand, face uncertainty over their ownership. The club has been put up for sale, but though there have been offers, none have met the Glazers’ valuation of its worth so far. Arsenal 5-3 Barcelona Though it’s only a pre-season friendly match, it’s always nice for a team to test their strength and build up their confidence by taking on a great opponent, and Arsenal did that by beating Barcelona 5-3 at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Barcelona took an early lead through Robert Lewandowski, but Bukayo Saka cancelled it out very quickly. Raphinha then restored it, only to see Kai Havertz level the score once more. After the break, Leandro Trossard struck twice to get the Gunners a decent advantage, and just as Ferran Torres pulled a late one back for the La Liga champions, Fabio Vieira set the final score. Barcelona mostly dominated possession with the ball spending 60% of the time at their feet, which obvioulsy didn’t trouble Arsenal’s tactical flexibility too much. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta will be pleased to have seen Havertz hitting the back of the net, as well as Jurrien Timber putting in a fine performance on the left defensive flank. Midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Oriol Romeu, who joined Barcelona from Manchester City and Girona, respectively, both started for Xavi Hernandez’s team.

Arsenal have strengthened their ranks significantly this summer with the arrivals of Havertz and Timber, not to mention the big-money signing of Declan Rice from West Ham. It seems Arteta aims for another Premier League title race, and he’ll be hoping that his men hold out to the very end this time around.

As for Barcelona, they won the La Liga title quite comfortably in the end, and with their rivals Real Madrid also undergoing big changes, it will be interesting to see how the season develops in the Spanish top flight.

Inter 1-1 Al-Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score again as his Al-Nassr played their second draw on the bounce in Japan, with the game against Inter Milan at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka finishing 1-1.

Abdulrahman Ghareeb broke the deadlock for the Saudi side in the 23rd minute, but Davide Frattesi equalized for Inter just over a minute before halftime. Former Manchester United left-back Alex Telles, and midfielders Seko Fofana and Marcelo Brozovic, formerly of Lens and Inter respectively, all started for Luis Castro’s team. It must have been an interesting experience for Brozovic to line up against his former teammates, as well as coach Simone Inzaghi.

Having reached the Champions League final last season, Inter will naturally be disappointed with coming so close to the glory only to miss out. In the Serie A, they secured a top-four finish, but they won’t have been happy with that either, despite the fact that Napoli enjoyed an incredible run to win the Scudetto. There’s plenty of work to be done, especially in the light of losing players like Brozovic, Romelu Lukaku, Edin Dzeko and Onana.

Aside from Brozovic, Fofana and Telles, Al-Nassr have also signed 23-year-old winger Khalil Al-Absi from Al-Hazem, and with the Saudi Pro League set to become extremely competitive, they’ll be looking to make further additions so as not to be left behind by the likes of Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Hilal and Al-Ettifaq.

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