Euro 2020 Special

Spanish Super Cup: Spain’s Finest Head to Saudi

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

This is the Spanish Super Cup version 2020.

The new-look tournament now features four teams: the winners and runners-up of last season’s La Liga (Barcelona and Atletico Madrid) plus the winners and runners-up from the Copa del Rey (Valencia and Barca).

As the Catalans are represented twice, the next highest placed team from last year’s league takes the remaining berth (Real Madrid).

With such star clubs, Spanish Super Cup highlights are all but guaranteed but this could be different to normal domestic duties.



Talking Points

Not least because the new-look tournament is also being taken abroad, to the 62,000 capacity King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which opened in 2014.

Created in 1982, this cup has traditionally been a two-legged pre-season encounter between the reigning Liga and Copa del Rey champions – the curtain-raiser to the new season.

But change has been coming. In fact, last season’s Spanish Super Cup was played as a single game at a neutral venue, Tangier in Morocco, when Barcelona defeated Sevilla 2-1.

They have won the Spanish Super Cup a record 13 times, three more than Real Madrid and come into this contest as league leaders, but only on goal difference after they were pegged back in an enthralling Catalan derby last weekend.


Their 40 points at this point is actually their worst return since 2007/08 when Real Madrid won the title.

Barcelona will be without goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen but have included a number of youngsters in their squad.

Atletico have not lost for a month but have key absences who have not travelled to Saudi Arabia.

Thomas Lemar was absent for Atletico’s final training session and he and the injured Diego Costa have remained in the Spanish capital.

Without Lemar, the only doubt seems to be the presence of either Koke or Hector Herrera in midfield.

Elsewhere, the in-form Alvaro Morata and Joao Felix will have another opportunity to build on their improving partnership up top.

A boost for Atletico is that a suspension that manager Diego Simeone was due to serve in the Supercopa de Espana has been lifted.

The ban was pending from the 2014 tournament and it was the last time Atletico participated in the competition but has been lifted after so many years.

Yes, this is lucrative. But no, supporters haven’t really been catered for.

Money and exposure appear to be the big reasons that have tempted the Spanish Football Federation’s president Luis Rubiales to take such a leap into the unknown.

Spanish newspaper ABC claim the Federation will earn between £29-34million per year from the three-year deal to host this tournament in the Middle East.

Flights to Saudi Arabia aren’t cheap at the best of times and coming directly after Christmas, it means that the majority of the club’s fans won’t be able to cheer their team on.

Yet this is modern-day football and this has all the hallmarks to be a commercial and football success.

Who will now triumph remains to be seen.

Diego Simeone needs to deliver the Spanish Super Cup trophy to continue his spell at Los Rojiblancos
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone reacts during a game vs Real Betis


Just last month the sides met in La Liga when a late goal from – who else – but Lionel Messi sealed a 1-0 victory for Barca.

They had previously met in March last year at the Nou Camp when Messi fired them eight points clear at the top with his 600th career goal – a result that all but ended the title race.

Messi is the record goalscorer in the Spanish Super Cup (13) and has also made the most appearances (18).

Atletico will, however, have a memorable success fresh in their memory.

In the Champions League quarter-finals in 2016 played at their former Vicente Calderon ground, two first-half goals from Antoine Griezmann — now of Barcelona — sealed a 2-0 success and a 3-2 aggregate win to send the holders crashing out after they had won the first leg 2-1.





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