Inter Milan represent a major obstacle to Real Madrid's desperate quest to win the Champions League under boss Jose Mourinho, defender Sergio Ramos said on Monday.
And Ramos admitted the Spanish giants will need to gel quickly if they are to succeed in the world's biggest club competition.
"This is quite a new team and we need to adjust to each other," said the Spanish international, speaking in the sweltering southern Chinese city of Guangzhou ahead of a pre-season friendly against a local side.
"It's too early to make predictions about who will win the Champions League, but of course Barcelona, and I think Inter Milan, will be very competitive."
Real's great rivals Barcelona won the Champions League and La Liga last season, but goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas hopes a Real squad boasting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka will get closer this time.
Real added left-back Fabio Coentrao, French defender Raphael Varane, Turkish midfielders Nuri Sahin and Hamit Altintop, and Spanish striker Jose Maria Callejon to their already hugely talented squad over the summer.
"There is a lot of competition for places and it is a younger team than last season, so I think we can do better," said Casillas.
Ramos admitted he had been taken aback by the reception Real had received in China.
Mourinho, who won the Champions League with Porto and Inter, was forced earlier in the day to sprint through a shopping mall after hundreds of fans swamped him, many chanting his name.
"We only just arrived so it has been quite a short time here, but we saw a lot of fans, which was a bit surprising and makes me feel proud," said Ramos.
Real take on Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday before heading to the city of Tianjin, close to Beijing.