The Super Cup of illusion

Less than a month after the World Cup final in Lusail, football is once again looking to the Middle East. This time, for a much more domestic issue and of a smaller dimension, the Spanish Super Cup, but also with its spiciness and illusions. Riyadh hosts from this Wednesday the fourth Super Cup with Final Four format. Two of them have been played in Arabia and both were lifted by Madrid, which has placed one behind Barça in the historic record (12-13). One of them (2019), even took away a coach, Valverde, at Barça. The pandemic Super Cup was won by Athletic Club in La Cartuja. In this edition there is a rookie with honors, Betis, who appears as Cup champion and that he is the only one of the four participants who never won the title.

The Arabian Super Cup is also read in an economic key. The FEF enters approximately 40 million euros of which the clubs pocket about eight million, although not in equal parts. Barça and Madrid take 2.8 million each; Valencia, which already showed its discontent last year, wins 1.7; and Betis barely receives 750,000 euros. Kosmos, Piqué’s company that put Rubiales’ business on a platter, enters four.

Tomorrow (8:00 p.m.) the ball starts rolling in the King Fahd stadium and there the lucrative is forgotten. Madrid defends their title and, despite their hesitant return from the World Cup, with fair victories in Valladolid and Cáceres and a defeat at La Cerámica, they cannot but be the favourites. This is also confirmed by his status as League, Champions and Super Cup champions. It is up to Ancelotti to recover the team’s cruising speed, depending on the temperature of his two golden midfielders, Modric and Kroos, but also on the talent of Benzema (the top active scorer in the competition with five, far from the 14 of Messi), the physicality of Valverde, the explosiveness of Vinicius and the genuine talent of Rodrygo. If there is fire, there is always Courtois.

Barça appears as the sole leader of LaLiga and the main outsider. It is difficult to make a real judgment of how prepared a team that has crashed this season on the big European days and in the Clásico is to win a title, but that is being solvent in the domestic tournament and, despite appearances, barely He has conceded six goals in 16 games. In the absence of consolidating the choral and total football that Xavi dreams of, the Catalans are showing unwavering faith and a good team spirit that has allowed them to win games that have turned really ugly (Osasuna, Valencia and Atlético, the last ). In the Supercopa, in addition, they recover Lewandowski, who still has to serve two games of suspension in the League, and is a sure scorer (18 goals in 20 official matches). But it has more. Imbalance in the band with Raphinha and Dembélé, indomitable character with Araújo and Gavi and talent with Pedri. Surely, of all the teams that arrive in Arabia, it is the one that has the most urgency for titles. Last season he went blank and got so off-kilter that he even celebrated the defeat in the Super Cup semifinal against Madrid… That will no longer happen.

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Valencia and Betis, as happens in any competition that blinds the spotlights of Barça and Madrid, arrive with the intention of bursting the Clásico on Sunday with which television rights holders dream. And they can legitimately dream. The last time he set foot in the Camp Nou, Betis beat Barça (0-1); and on the last visit to Heliópolis the azulgranas won in a hurry and at the last minute. I mean, there’s a game. Betis is a team built with the patience and common sense of Manuel Pellegrini, that has filled the hearts of the béticos with a team of tremendous good taste crowned by players of the level of Guido, Carvalho, Fekir or Canales and that now adds the explosion of Luiz Henrique. Seeing Joaquín lift a title for his Betis in Riyadh at the age of 41 and a half would be almost poetic.

In Valencia, the star is Genaro Gattusobut it has faded in recent games (one win out of the last eight in the League). The che have gotten the hang of it and, somehow, the Italian is finding it difficult to develop his idea due to the limitations of human capital he has. In any case, Valencia has always had a great soul and despite this constant hardship since it declared the state of survival that has kept it in continuous social tension, it has been Cup champion in 2019 and finalist last year, when Yunus Musah commanded to the clouds the illusion of those who once again imagined the champion Valencia in Seville. His last Super Cup dates back to 1999.

Historical record of the Super Cup

  • 2021-22 Real Madrid Athletic
  • 2020-21 Athletic Barcelona (Champion after an extension).
  • 2019-20 Real Madrid Atlético (Champion in the penalty shootout).
  • 2018-19 Barcelona Seville
  • 2017-18 Real Madrid Barcelona
  • 2016-17 Barcelona Seville
  • 2015-16 Athletic Barcelona
  • 2014-15 Athletic Real Madrid
  • 2013-14 Barcelona Athletic
  • 2012-13 Real Madrid Barcelona
  • 2011-12 Barcelona Real Madrid
  • 2010-11 Barcelona Seville
  • 2009-10 Barcelona Athletic
  • 2008-09 Real Madrid Valencia
  • 2007-08 Seville Real Madrid
  • 2006-07 Barcelona Espanyol
  • 2005-06 Barcelona Betis
  • 2004-05 Saragossa Valencia
  • 2003-04 Real Madrid Majorca
  • 2002-03 Sports Valencia
  • 2001-02 Real Madrid Saragossa
  • 2000-01 Sports Spanish
  • 1999-00 Valencia Barcelona
  • 1998-99 Majorca Barcelona
  • 1997-98 Real Madrid Barcelona
  • 1996-97 Barcelona Athletic
  • 1995-96 Sports Real Madrid
  • 1994-95 Barcelona Saragossa
  • 1993-94 Real Madrid Barcelona
  • 1992-93 Barcelona Athletic
  • 1991-92 Barcelona Athletic
  • 1990-91 Real Madrid Barcelona
  • 1989-90 Real Madrid (Direct champion by winning the League and Cup).
  • 1988-89 Real Madrid Barcelona
  • 1985-86 Athletic Barcelona
  • 1984-85 Athletic (Direct champion by winning the League and Cup).
  • 1983-84 Barcelona Athletic
  • 1982-83 Real society Real Madrid (Champion after an extension).
  • In 1986-87 and 1987-88 it was not played.

The capital of Spanish football moves, then, these days, to Riyadh. Four teams spread over four different cardinal points of the vast city. The Royal Spanish Football Federation, owner of the crown and distributor of dividends, in a Crowne. Barça, in a Fairmont; Betis, in a Hilton; Madrid, in a Marriott; and Valencia, in a Radisson.

And at 1:00 p.m. today, Medina Cantalejo, leader of the referees, presenting the semi-automatic offside. As if this weekend’s holding hands hadn’t been enough.

Fourth Super Cup with Final Four format; that was the previous three

2022: Real Madrid lift their second Super Cup in Arabia, the third in five years after eliminating Barcelona in an agonizing game and Athletic in the final. Against the Catalans, the whites beat their opponents by the minimum (3-2) in a tremendous game decided in extra time: Vinicius and Benzema put the whites ahead twice, who were equalized by goals from Luuk de Jong and from Ansu Fati, this one with just over five minutes to go. It would be Valverde, in the 98th minute, who would sentence the match at the end of a play by Rodrygo and that Vinicius lets pass so that the Uruguayan, who arrives launched, controls and beats Ter Stegen.
On the other side of the tie, Athletic beat Atlético in four minutes of madness from Bilbao. Yeray and Nico Williams came back from a tremendous mistake by Unai Simón from João Félix’s shot. In the final, the madridistas beat the rojiblancos with a goal from Modric (MVP of the edition) and another from Benzema, from a penalty. Courtois, stopping a penalty from Raúl García (minute 88), prevented the lions from getting hooked on the final again.

2021: The circumstances caused by COVID-19 meant that the 2021 edition of the Super Cup would be held in Spain, without an audience, despite the agreement with Saudi Arabia for three years. Andalusia was chosen as the venue for the three matches, coinciding with the fact that that year it was the European Sports Region. The semifinals were held in Córdoba, with Barça’s victory against Real Sociedad, and in Málaga, where Athletic eliminated Real Madrid. Marcelino had practically just arrived in Bilbao after the dismissal of Garitano and his landing was shocking. They beat Barcelona in the final with a comeback included and a great goal from Iñaki Williams in extra time to remember. He hooked a magnificent shot that went to Ter Stegen’s squad, after hitting the wood. The lions were twice behind on the scoreboard due to two goals from Griezmann (minutes 40 and 77). On the first occasion, De Marcos responded quickly (42′) and when the final seemed defined, Villalibre forced extra time. Third rojiblanca Super Cup, after those of 1984, as League and Cup champion, and that of 2015.

2020: beginning of 2020 The first edition of the Super Cup was held in Final Four format and on the land of Saudi Arabia. Real Madrid-Valencia and Barcelona-Atlético were the pairings. Whites and valencianistas made their debut and the madridistas hardly had any difficulties to overcome their rival. Kroos, from a direct corner, Isco and Modric gave victory to Zidane’s men. Parejo, at the last moment, closed the gap on a penalty. In the second clash, the rojiblancos beat Barcelona, ​​who went 2-1, goals from Messi and Griezmann, after Koke had scored first. In the last ten minutes, Morata, from a penalty, and Correa turned the score around and the pass to the final. In Arabia there was another derby outside Madrid after the two Champions League finals and the European Super Cup. The trophy was decided in a penalty shootout and will be remembered for the action of Valverde, who expelled himself by knocking down Morata when he was left alone in front of Courtois. In the shootout, the errors of Saúl and Thomas (stops Courtois) gave Madrid their eleventh Super Cup.

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