MADRID, 14 One. (EUROPA PRESS) –
64 years, more than half a century, more than six decades. That is the time that Real Madrid and Athletic Club, two of the most successful teams in Spanish football, have not seen each other in a final fighting for a title, a long period of time that will come to an end this Sunday in a strange setting. ‘ as Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
And it is that after experiencing innumerable sports ‘battles’, merengues and Lions will face each other again at the Rey Fahd International Stadium in search of adding a new trophy to their record. 94 adds the Madrid team, which aspires to its eleventh Super Cup, for the 35 that the Biscayan treasures, which defends the title and who, if they win, would enjoy the fourth.
The two of them, along with FC Barcelona, are the only teams that have never been relegated to the Second Division and their rivalry, although they have been fighting for different objectives for many years, has always had a lot of tradition, both in Bilbao and in Madrid. However, that hasn’t translated into numerous finals between them and Sunday’s will be the eighth between the two, the first since 1958.
At the end of June of that year, on June 29, the two teams met in the final of the then Copa del Generalísimo. In fact, only the faces have been seen fighting for a trophy in the ‘ko tournament’ where Athletic is the second most successful with 24 titles, although the club has the one from 1902 under the name of Vizcaya, but which is not recognized by the RFEF. At that time, the Basque team was one of the most thriving at the national level, while Real Madrid was beginning to carve out its European legend under the presidency of Santiago Bernabéu and seemed the favorite, with the addition of playing in its stadium.
The Madrid team had just won its third consecutive European Cup and were the favorites despite the fact that neither Gento nor Kopa could ‘help’ Di Stéfano, but Athletic then showed their quality and character to win 2-0 and add their cupbearer trophy number 21 or 20, depending on how you want to see it. Arieta, in minute 20, and Mauri, in minute 23, sentenced the victory of the ‘Leones’ and the famous phrase of the club’s president, Enrique Guzmán, remained in the history books: ‘Eleven villagers have beaten the glorious Real Madrid’.
Before that meeting, both teams met in another seven cup finals. Athletic won those of 1943 (1-0), 1933 (2-1), 1930 (3-2), 1916 (4-0) and 1903 (3-2), and Real Madrid those of 1905 (1- 0) and 1906 (4-1). The madridistas also won in 1907 (1-0), then against Vizcaya.
Now, two ‘greats’ of Spanish football, whose boards are united in their crusade against ‘LaLiga Impulso’, will relive old duels with the memory of a year ago, when Athletic Club won the semi-final 2-1 and then champion was crowned.