Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has hinted that Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Pepe will miss the Super Cup final against Sevilla on 9 August as the trio are yet to train with the rest of his squad. Zidane had previously ruled out Cristiano Ronaldo and Keylor Navas for the game and has added Karim Benzema was also a doubt, meaning that up to six regular starters in the previous campaign could miss the first official game of the 2016-2017 season.
Los Blancos have already arrived in Madrid after ending their pre-season tour of North America on Wednesday (3 August) with a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich. They also beat Chelsea following a defeat to PSG in their opening game of the International Champions Cup.
Bale, Kroos and Pepe did not feature on the tour due to extended holidays following their participation in the Euro 2016. Even though the three key players are expected to return to training before the final with Sevilla, Zidane has suggested they will not be fully fit to play in the game.
"I don't think [Gareth] Bale, [Toni] Kroos, and Pepe will be fit enough [to play against Sevilla]," Zidane said after the win over Bayern as quoted by Marca. "Those who haven't been with us during pre-season will be evaluated when they return to Madrid."
Meanwhile, Benzema did travel with the rest of the Real Madrid squad to America but missed all the three friendlies against PSG, Chelsea and Bayern due to an injury. Zidane had previously noted that the Frenchman will need to play at least some minutes against the Bundesliga giants to have a chance of lining up against Sevilla. However, he has now refused to rule out his compatriot completely for the Super Cup final.
"I hope he (Benzema) is good to go for the Uefa Super Cup," the manager said. "He's feeling better and is already completing training sessions."
Ronaldo and Navas are also set to miss the game as they continue their respective rehabilitation from injuries. The Portuguese international is expected to miss the start of the La Liga opener with Real Sociedad on 21 August after he injured his knee in Portugal's victory over France in the Euro 2016 final on July 10.
Navas, the Costa Rican goalkeeper has been out of action since the Champions League final after he underwent an Achilles tendon operation in June, missing the Copa America. The keeper's return is nearer than Ronaldo's but Zidane recently hinted he will not gamble on him for the Super Cup final as Kiko Casilla is able to play in goal in his absence against Sevilla.