Real Madrid have hardly been impacted by the continual omissions of Sami Khedira from 18-man match-day squads, however, the manner in which Los Blancos were able to attack local rivals Atletico Madrid was markedly improved when Carlo Ancelotti made a substitutions that introduced Angel di Maria to Super Cup first leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu last night, Tuesday.
Di Maria has been perpetually linked with a transfer away from the club, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United in a potential tug-of-war over the €65 million rated Argentine.
"The game changed with Di Maria," commented Atleti boss Diego Simenoe after the 1-1 draw. "It's logical - he's the best player they have," he added.
Di Maria's running was intelligent, fast and direct. By introducing the 26-year-old in place of Luke Modric, the shape of Real's midfield altered somewhat and suddenly the Champions League holders became far more dangerous.
It may have only been a cameo appearance, but it was precisely the type of display that will have fortified Manchester United's desire to recruit the player - despite his potentially exorbitant combined transfer fee and wage demands.
However, his impact may well make Ancelotti reconsider the player's available status in the current market.
Simeone concluded: "He's the player most likely to create openings in the opposition half."