By Ibrox News speaking to Alex McLeish

17th Jul, 2021 | 7:40pm

Alex McLeish reacts as Rangers announce Real Madrid fixture

We’re delighted to welcome former Rangers manager Alex McLeish as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Ibrox…

Alex McLeish has reacted excitedly to the news that Rangers will host Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly at Ibrox on July 25.

Rangers confirmed the fixture against the European giants in a statement on their official club website last week [08/07/21], with the visit of Carlo Ancelotti’s side set to be the Gers’ final warm-up before the start of competitive action six days later on July 21.

The two giant clubs have only met on one previous occasion, a European Cup meeting during the 1963/64 season.

McLeish insists it is the type of clash that should become a yearly occurrence.

“It’s a brilliant start to the pre-season, I know they’ve played a couple of games already but this is a big test,” McLeish told Ibrox News.

“This is the type of team that Rangers should be able to host annually.

“It’s great to play against the best teams and Real will want to just test themselves in pre-season.”

Testing the waters

This fixture will be a great event for a number of reasons – it’s historic given the two clubs have barely faced off before, while it will see two massive clubs with huge fanbases pitted against each other.

But it will also allow Steven Gerrard the chance to assess his squad and their credentials against the big boys of European football.

It’s not likely to be a full-strength Real side throughout the 90 minutes, but all of their Euro 2020 and Copa America stars should be back and featuring at some stage in the match, and that will provide the Gers with a stern test.

As the club’s final game of their pre-season preparation, it will also give Gerrard one final look as to who is getting close to peak levels and who needs more work as the start of the official season draws nearer.

In other Rangers news, Neil Lennon reacts as Jim White poses James Tavernier Ibrox exit question.