Real Madrid enter this matchup undefeated in La Liga, having scored 10 goals across 3 matches - and that's with Cristiano Ronaldo yet to play 90 minutes as he recovers from the injury he sustained during the Euro 2016 final. Likewise, Sporting are undefeated in Portugal, beating rivals and fellow Champions League participants Porto along the way. Goals have been spread throughout the squad for the Portuguese side, with young prospect Gelson Martins leading the way with two. New signing Bas Dost got off the mark early, and will look to replicate his 20 goal Bundesliga tally from two years ago. After a year off from the Champions League a visit to the Bernabeu will be a huge test.
The record-holding 11 time winners will defend their current trophy without the usual summertime Galactico business. But, when your squad includes the likes of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema, finally finding consistency is a positive. We have yet to see Zinedine Zidane take a full season at the helm with all the pressure the toughest gig in management provides - how he responds to turbulent times will determine the length of his tenure. The expectations for this squad are the same as every season: win every trophy they compete for. With their aforementioned attacking prowess bolstered by a reliable defense, they could do just that.
Sporting snatched away manager Jorge Jesus, regarded as the best in Portugal, from crosstown rivals Benfica, last year, but one season wasn’t enough for him to end their 14 season title drought. In the Champions League, they didn’t make it past the play-off round, so the group stage this year is an improvement, despite being drawn into a group with giants Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Algerian striker Islam Slimani left for Leicester after scoring 27 goals last season, so it may be Joel Campbell - on loan from Arsenal - who could step up. He’ll be backed by a strong Portuguese midfield including William Carvalho and Adrien Silva.
Averages over a goal a game for Real, having scored 261 in 237 appearances.
The 33 year-old defender has frustrated and annoyed opponents for over 215 matches with Real.
The Euro 2016 winner was linked to top EPL clubs over the summer, but stayed put and will be crucial in breaking up attacks in midfield.
The accurate passer is Sporting's captain and has been with the club since 2007.