There are only two weeks left until the New Year and we have a Clasico reward. It also matches well with the athleteExpanded coverage of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
So without falling into the trap of predictions and writers battling each other, here’s a quick Supercopa Clasico guide to get you in the mood from Pol Ballus, Mario Cortegana, Dermot Corrigan and Laia Cervello Herrero.
What are your first memories of El Clasico?
when: The match was played on November 23, 2002, which was the fourth Clasico match with Luis Figo Real Madrid. I was only 11 years old and didn’t really realize what Figo meant for Barcelona, but after that match it became clear to me that he was their number one public enemy. I think it’s my first vivid memory of El Clasico because I was completely shocked by the hostility with which the fans greeted their former player at the Camp Nou and especially by the Godfather-style episode. Every time Figo went to take a corner kick, he was showered with things, including a pig’s head.
Mario: It was October 13, 1999, and I had just turned seven. Of course, I’ve watched football before and already have many memories, but nothing is as vivid as the one at Camp Nou. the Barcelona The fans gave Real Madrid a very hostile reception and maintained that atmosphere throughout the night. Raul, my first idol, scored to make it 1-0, but Rivaldo and Figo scored to put Barcelona ahead. Real Madrid didn’t start the season very well, so they looked doomed. Until the number 7 appeared again, in the 86th minute, to take advantage of a pass from Savio, beat goalkeeper Rod Hesp and make it 2-2. His celebration is history in my football life and in football in general, as he asked the stadium to be silent.
Dermot: I can remember watching Raúl, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho and Luis Enrique play Clasicos before I moved to Spain. But my first proper professional memory is of Pep Guardiola walking into the press room at the Santiago Bernabéu in 2011, and asking out loud, “Which one is Jose’s camera?” He looked at it right and said Mourinho was the ‘damn manager’ here but there on the pitch, his players were teaching Madrid a lesson. It’s been awhile.
pee: The first images that popped into my head as a kid are wild celebrations with soccer players shouting and celebrating against opposition fans. I can remember Giovanni Silva, the Brazilian midfielder who played for Barcelona in the late 1990s, scoring a late goal at the Santiago Bernabeu and celebrating by making the “Potivarra” gesture – in Catalan, an obscene movement that would be the same as giving a finger. Years later, it was Raul who used his finger to silence the Camp Nou. It was those moments where you learned the irrationality about that game, which is ultimately what makes it so great.
Explain El Clasico to an alien who has landed on Earth
Dermot: El Clásico used to be seen as the vicious conservative Spanish empire of Real Madrid against the liberal independence-seeking Catalans of Barcelona. This scenario had to be rewritten recently, as the financial issues of the two clubs led to their two chiefs uniting against common enemies. But for the players, and especially the fans, this is still the biggest match against their most hated rival.
Real Madrid would describe Real Madrid as…
Mario: Real Madrid has a high opinion of itself. This is to be expected, given the number of titles the club has won. This is why they always feel favored before a match and believe that nothing is impossible. These feelings are greater when it comes to Champions Leaguewith last season’s unbeatable example.
Real Madrid also sees itself as a club driven by ambition. An example from last year: when Carlo Ancelotti’s team won league, I sent a congratulatory message to someone on the blackboard. The response was: “Let’s go for the real good stuff”, referring to the Champions League final.
Barcelona fans describe Barcelona as…
when: Maybe as pessimistic fans. Historically, the club started winning trophies relatively recently, in the 1990s with Johan Cruyff and his dream team. Before that, and especially in the sixties, Real Madrid was dominant Spain. So Barcelona, the opposing team from the other big city in the country, got frustrated by the achievements of their neighbors and adopted the persona of underdogs. This was increased by the political rivalry that has always existed between Catalonia and Spain.
When you are a fan of a club it is usually, like most fans, because your family is a fan and it is passed on from grandparents to grandchildren and that legacy is created. If grandparents tell you that “we’re not going to win anything this year” after winning the game 5-0, pessimism becomes part of the way you view your team.
Real Madrid fans believe that Barcelona …
Mario: A very big club, its main rival in Spain, but it is always behind Real Madrid despite the fact that the gap is getting smaller in modern times. In addition, an inferiority complex and victimhood are noted.
In another area, the madridistas also view Barcelona as a club closely linked to politics due to their desire for independence, even with the help of some political forces, which is widely criticized by many Real Madrid fans.
Barcelona fans believe that Real Madrid…
when: On the one hand, until now, politics has mixed with sports. When FC Barcelona was born, it was given the motto “more than a club” because it was born as more than a club.
Born as a representative organization for Catalonia and in times of repression, people have found their way to demonstrate and fight oppression every weekend when Barcelona plays. During Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, Catalan culture and language were suppressed, and the only place Catalans could express themselves was the Camp Nou. It was hard to escape those political and societal overtones.
Many fans still associate Real Madrid with the Spanish government. This has been seen in recent years. Between 2017 and 2019, when there were many demonstrations in Catalonia in favor of the Catalan independence referendum, Clasicos took on a different meaning.
On the other hand, if you try to remove all political meaning, the average Barcelona fan sees Real Madrid fans as winners and sometimes egotistical personalities. Until recently, Barcelona was not used to winning. Since the era of Frank Rijkaard and then Guardiola, things have turned around and the feeling of inferiority is now less.
Why do you play this game in Saudi Arabia and is it important?
Ahead of the 2019-20 season, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) decided to completely overhaul the Supercopa de Espana, which had been running since 1982 with a very simple two-team format.
But this wasn’t exciting enough for RFEF, as they doubled the number of teams by inviting the runners-up in Del Rey Cup And the Spanish league to participate as well as the winners.
Oh, and I decided to move the tournament from Spain to Saudi Arabia. Which was good news for everyone’s bank balance. But it is not a good deal for Spanish football fans.
This step makes sense for RFEF, though Saudi Arabia paying an annual fee of more than €30m (£26.6m, $32.5m) to host the tournament. Others are not happy. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have also criticized the arrangement.
Why is this game important for Real?
Mario: The match against Barcelona is always very important for Real Madrid, but if there is a trophy as a reward, it is even more so. This will not be an exception in Saudi Arabia. Losing to Barcelona is a double defeat: Real Madrid loses, and its main opponent wins.
In addition, there are some doubts about the level of Real Madrid in recent weeks. Defeat now can generate more uncertainty and hurt the team in the following weeks and months.
Why is this match important for Barcelona?
pee: Because a club needs something to hold onto to continue building a project – and that’s what trophies do. The Supercopa isn’t a major prize, and it’s certainly a competition that won’t dictate Xavi’s future in the short term. But after pulling four ‘levers’ in the summer, investing €153m and signing seven new deals, Xavi knows he has to deliver. Not only would winning the Super Cup be his first club title, it would be a much-needed confidence boost for a very young side in their bid to maintain pace at the top of La Liga.
The player who will win this match for Barcelona is…
pee: I have to go with the obvious answer: Robert Lewandowski. There are two reasons. The first is Real Madrid. Ancelotti admitted both before and after the semi-final that they had to improve their defense after admitting ridiculous mistakes against them Valencia And Villarreal. Dani Carvajal And Ferland Mindy He will play immediately after injuries and the partnership of Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger is not having the best of times. That is something Lewandowski should capitalize on.
The second reason is that according to Xavi, Barcelona’s biggest problem is their inability to finish matches at the top. “We should have killed the game in the first half,” the manager said after the beating. Real Betis penalty shootout. If there is a player who can put a stop to that, it has to be Lewandowski. He scored one and disallowed another in the semi-final, but it could have been more effective with two mistimed shots in the first half.
The player who can win this match for Real is…
Dermot: Vinicius Jr He is the Real Madrid player that Barcelona really fear. Xavi often plays Ronald Araujo At right-back as extra cover but nonetheless, the Brazilian forward has the pace and quality to wreak havoc on a Barcelona defense that relied too much on the goalkeeper. Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The player who can lose this match for Barcelona is….
pee: Jordi Alba. One of Barcelona’s weakest points, the full-back, collides with Madrid’s strongest player, the wingers. We can expect him to use Xavi Araujo as a right-back to control Vinicius Jr – the Uruguayan has done a great job in the past in this role. But on the flip side, there may be more problems. At Alba, Xavi is a left-back with a great touch forward, but also a player who struggles to defend in high-pressure situations at elite level. That could be a focal point for Real Madrid’s counter-attacks in either of them Federico Valverde or Rodrigo Benefits. Will Xavi choose youth? Alejandro Balde instead of him? we will see.
The player who might lose this match for Real Madrid is….
Dermot: Barcelona are likely to press high and try to force errors from Madrid in their own half. Left-back Mendy has a tendency to hit errant passes that often get his teammates into trouble, even when they’re not under pressure. If unintentionally put Ousmane Dembele In space alone, Real Madrid can pay a heavy price.
What is the most interesting thing about this specific game?
Dermot: Sunday is vital to Project Xavi. No one doubts whether the former playmaker can talk a good game, but most people around the Camp Nou are not yet convinced he can get his ideas across to his team. Winning the trophy in El Clásico will silence those doubters, for the time being at least, and give him and Joan Laporta enough time to continue building a new team capable of winning the biggest trophies. On the other hand, defeat will only increase grumbling.
Choose a lineup of current Real and Barcelona players:
Select a recent Classico XI (from 2000 onwards):
Where do I watch it (KO 7pm GMT, 2pm EST, 11am PT)?
United States: Fubo TV
United Kingdom: BT Sport 2
(Top images: Getty Images; Design: Sam Richardson)
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