I hear the faces for the third time this season. Unlike the previous two times, there will be a title involved, which, even though it is the least of all, the two teams aspire with relish. One, those of Ancelotti, because it comes from a blank year. The other, directed by his friend Marcelino, because the history of these tournaments has become infatuated with his size, fight and ambition. A superfinal, another superclassic type, because the two have been facing each other for some time, far from home, in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia and a Spanish Super Cup contracted until 2029.
The 30,000 locations of the King Fahd Stadium They sold out in an hour. The vast majority paid by Saudi fans of Real Madrid. Those of Athletic will be in the minority. A storm of requests that has competed with another of sand and an electric downpour that will subside, say local meteorologists, at game time. Two things are of concern in this scenario: the state of the soft, short grass and the lighting, which some white players complained about.
With Carvajal confined by Covid at your hotel, Ancelotti He was thinking about only two doubts, although only one with a direct impact on the starting eleven. Alaba, who should be dismissed, had last night, in the last session, certain options. The Austrian centre-back trained with the group after five days in Riyadh but was absent due to a muscle injury. Asensio, on the other hand, is already totally discarded. Against Barça, the midfielder withdrew with some discomfort. The solutions would go through Lucas Vázquez on the right side, the continuity of Nacho in the axis of the defense and Rodrygo on the far right, unless you want to force one.
The Madrid coach will spare no resources. In a public way, he gave maximum importance to the tournament. Madrid cannot be repeated as a simple finalist and although the League is facing, it is not a matter of trust. It would be his fifth white title and yesterday he did not hide the value he gives to the tournament, perhaps remembering inside himself that a Super Cup was, precisely, the beginning of the end for Zidane and Sergio Ramos.
Athletic walks with the tank of morale to the fullest. In the locker room he feels strong. And not only for coming from knocking down Atlético in a fast and precise comeback. They are the reigning champions and will play their tenth final since 2009, the fourth this past year. With so many statistics blowing in favor, Marcelino he is not worried about the state of mind of his players but rather the red and white’s lack of aim and the excess of success of Madrid’s offensive patrol, with a Benzema and a vinicius in an endless effervescent state.
No matter how the score goes, Athletic will always have one last resort left on the bench. A Nico Williams, the last pearl of Lezama, 19 years old, cheeky and uninhibited, capable of grabbing a big man and leaving him shivering. Ask Cholo Simeone’s team.
The Clásico vibrated, the second semi-final was intense but almost silent. Madrid will once again be protected and Athletic will have to get rid of a pro-white environment that is not hostile. It is the staging of a Spanish Super Cup that is played very far from home