Manchester United were beaten but should take some encouragement for making Real Madrid fight until the end and, following Nemanja Matic’s fine performance, will hope real quality has been added to the midfield.
As it was, Madrid claimed the trophy, goals by Casemiro and Isco answered only by Romelu Lukaku’s first competitive strike since his £75m move from Everton – though he also missed an easier chance in what was a mixed outing for him.
Madrid dominated for large swathes yet United might have forced extra-time when, near the end, Marcus Rashford raced in at goal but his effort allowed goalkeeper Keylor Navas to steer the ball away for a corner.
There was a large roar when Cristiano Ronaldo was given the final few minutes – there were seven added – but Madrid’s real jubilation was in winning their second consecutive Uefa Super Cup to add to their back-to-back Champions League triumphs.
Gareth Bale missed the first golden opportunity in the oppressive heat inside the Philip II Arena. The 28-year-old, operating as a striker alongside Karim Benzema, won a corner. When play broke from this Marcelo swung in a cross from the left. For some reason Paul Pogba ducked and the ball landed on Bale’s right boot, but he spurned the chance despite being close to David de Gea’s goal.
For this first competitive outing of the 2017-18 term José Mourinho sent out a largely predictable XI. The one debatable selection was that of Jesse Lingard for Rashford in a 4-3-3. The midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Matic and Pogba is one the manager will hope to field consistently, form permitting.