Super Cup: Real Madrid, Barcelona take rivalry to Saudi Arabia

Madrid face Barcelona for Supercopa (Super Cup) glory in Saudi Arabia

Real Madrid will play arch-rivals Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday night, in one of the biggest matches on the football calendar.

On Wednesday, Real Madrid defeated Valencia on penalties in the competition’s first semi-final, while Barcelona also needed a penalty shootout to advance, defeating Real Betis on Thursday to set up El Clasico.

Wednesday’s match between Real Madrid and Valencia wasn’t exactly the best for either team, but they still managed to win despite the difficult circumstances. Samuel Lino’s goal early in the second half offset a Karim Benzema penalty, which forced extra time and ultimately penalties in the semi-final.

While Valencia missed two of their five opportunities, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Marco Asensio all converted from the penalty spot, advancing Carlo Ancelotti’s team to the championship game.

The Spanish Super Cup is not a priority competition, but the match has unquestionably grown more significant because Barcelona is in the final, and a victory for the trophy holders would tie them with Barcelona on 13 victories in this specific competition.

In contrast, Real Madrid has already defeated Barcelona this year, winning 3-1 when the two clubs faced off in a league match at the Bernabeu in the middle of October.

Barcelona also required penalties to progress to the final, with Xavi’s side winning 4-2 in a shootout against Real Betis after the two teams were level at 2-2 at the end of extra time.

The Catalan outfit twice led through Robert Lewandowski and Ansu Fati, but Real Betis answered back through Nabil Fekir and Loren Moron before ultimately being beaten on penalties.

Barcelona are the most successful side in this competition, but they have not lifted the trophy since 2018, losing in the final of the 2020-21 Spanish Super Cup to Athletic Bilbao.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup could have Courtois in goal as expected while Carvajal, Nacho, Rudiger, Mendy could form the defence shield. Kroos, Valverde, Modric are expected the run the midfield while Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius lead the attack front.

Barcelona possible starting lineup will have Ter Stegen manning the sticks while Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde could provide defensive cover for him. in the midfield, Xavi could line up Frankie de Jong, Busquets, Pedri while Dembele, Lewandowski, Fati play upfront.

How many Spanish Super Cup titles do Real Madrid and Barcelona have?

Barcelona are the most prolific Spanish Super Cup winner with 13 titles, closely followed by Real Madrid with 12.

That record means that the team from the capital will be looking to catch up with the Blaugranas on Sunday and draw level on 13 trophies each.

Real Madrid and Barcelona’s total domination of the Spanish Super Cup

Barcelona‘s 13 titles were won in 1983, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2018.

Real Madrid, defending champions of the Super Cup this year, have won in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2001, 2003, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2017, 2020 and 2022.

The dominance of these two teams stands out from the rest of the Spanish teams, as the teams that come closest to them are Deportivo La Coruna and Athletic Club, with just three Super Cup titles each.

The tournament was first played in 1982, and won in that year by Real Sociedad with a 4-0 win over Real Madrid.

New format of the Spanish Super Cup

Since 2020, the format for the Super Cup finalists is as follows: the top two finishers in the overall standings in LaLiga Santander face the two finalists of the Copa del Rey.

The LaLiga Santander champion plays in a semi-final against the runner-up from the Copa del Rey, while the second-placed team from the regular season plays against the Copa del Rey champion.