Barcelona convincingly beat Real Madrid 3-1 in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to win the Spanish Super Cup, their first trophy since coach Xavi Hernandez took over. Inspired by teenager Gavi, who scored himself and set up goals for Robert Lewandowski and Pedri Gonzalez, the Catalans produced one of their best performances in years against their bitter Clasico rivals. Karim Benzema netted a late consolation for Madrid, who have been far from their best since the World Cup break and also fell three points behind Barcelona in LaLiga last weekend.
Having enjoyed great success as a player at Barca, Xavi returned in November 2021 and after a summer of heavy spending, this emphatic victory is a sign his project is moving in the right direction. Although Xavi will ultimately be judged on his performance in major competitions and Barcelona have already been eliminated from this season’s Champions League he was thrilled by the victory.
“It brings a lot of calm, confidence, because what we planned worked brilliantly, we beat Madrid, dominating the whole game,” said Xavi. “I’ll take how we played from this, it is very important to me. The trophy, yes, but how (we won it). We have three trophies to play for this season and this gives us confidence.”
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti suffered his first defeat in a final since 2014, with Los Blancos surrendering the trophy they earned last season to Barcelona, who have now won the Super Cup a record 14 times. The biggest blow for Madrid may prove to be the morale boost the victory is for their rivals.