Julen Lopetegui learned that managing Real Madrid will be anything but a walk in the park during Wednesday night’s Super Cup defeat to neighbours Atletico Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane made it look easy during his two-and-a-half seasons at the Bernabeu, winning trophy after trophy, including three European Cups in a row.
But Lopetegui, who doesn’t have the superhuman Cristiano Ronaldo to call upon, suffered defeat in his first competitive game in charge of Los Blancos.
Madrid got off to the worst possible start with one minute on the clock when Diego Costa got the better of both Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane before finishing past Keylor Navas from an acute angle.
Karim Benzema made it 1-1 midway through the first half following excellent work by Gareth Bale on the right flank before Ramos stepped up and scored a second-half penalty.
It seems the all-action centre-back will be on penalty duty at the Bernabeu now that Ronaldo has left the club for Juventus.
Ramos cooly stroked the ball past Jan Oblak, showing impressive composure for a central defender.
Fans loved what Ramos did after scoring penalty
Then again, Ramos isn’t your average centre-back. The 32-year-old always manages to grab the headlines and he had football fans on social media laughing with his celebration after scoring.
It initially looked like he might try and replicate Ronaldo’s famous celebration. But after thinking better of it, he then decided to pull off the Conor McGregor strut instead.
Classic Ramos. Even if you don’t like the guy, you have to admit he’s pure Box Office.
Unfortunately for Ramos and his teammates, though, Atleti went on to score three more goals before full-time.
Sweet victory for Atletico
The imperious Costa equalised with 10 minutes left of normal time, sending the game to extra-time in the process.
Saul then made it 3-2 with a magnificent volley before Koke added gloss to the scoreline shortly afterwards.
Victory must have tasted very sweet for Diego Simeone and his players, who were beaten by Real Madrid in both the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals.
The Super Cup isn’t quite of the same importance but, nevertheless, this victory should give Atleti plenty of confidence heading into the new season.
A three-horse race for this season’s La Liga title certainly looks more than possible right now.
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