February 4, 2023

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The Super Cup starts in Spain. Why is it held in Saudi Arabia? Who will Real Madrid and Barça face?

Spanish Super Cup is about to start. In recent years, it has been held right in the middle of the season – so it’s easy to get lost in the schedule. At the same time, La Liga is also played – however, the Super Bowl participants will miss its 17th game round.

Here we answer the main questions.

Why do Spaniards play in Saudi Arabia?

In 2018, the Spanish Football Federation wanted to squeeze more money out of the Super Cup, officials came up with the idea of ​​a playoff instead of the standard two matches. Already in February 2019, they introduced a new format and crammed matches into January, that is, at the very height of the season.

Protests of possible participants in this regard did not lead to anything.

At first, Barça and Real Madrid were separated into a grid so that the giants could only meet in the final, but later the federation recognized the idea as irrational. Play the finalists of the Spanish Cup and the two best teams in La Liga, which at the same time did not play in the final of the Cup.

After the approval of the new format, the head of the federation, Luis Rubiales, was looking for a place where they could pay a lot for top football. Initially, there were proposals from Qatar and the United States on the Spaniards’ table. But then Gerard Pique appeared – he helped to contact the authorities of Saudi Arabia through his investment company Kosmos. The option with the Americans was promoted by the head of La Liga, Javier Tebas, but they decided to abandon the idea in favor of the eastern market – Spain is much more popular there.

Saudi Arabia became interested and offered officials simply cosmic conditions – 120 million euros in just three years. In the summer of 2021, Marca wrote that the Super Bowl will be held in Riyadh until 2029. The Spaniards can receive from 240 to 320 million euros.

Who will play?

Atlético Madrid will not play in this Spanish Super Cup – last year, Simeone’s team took only third place in the championship, and in the Cup flew out of Cornella from the third division. But all the other giants are in the ranks.

“Real”passed as champion of Spain. In the last draw, it was Ancelotti’s team that took the trophy. Although there are reasons to worry – now Madrid is not in the best shape, and in the last three draws the champion has invariably taken off in the semi-finals. Can the curse be broken?

“Barcelona”qualified for the Super Bowl by finishing second in La Liga. Xavi’s team has already pulled away from Real Madrid in La Liga, but a victory in Saudi Arabia could be a nice bonus. It is important that the suspension of Robert Lewandowski does not apply to the Super Bowl.

“Betis”– last year’s winner of the Spanish Cup. Now the Pellegrini team is dreaming of the Champions League again and is in fourth place in La Liga, you should not write it off. But the 29-year-old striker Borja Iglesias is especially pleased – he has already scored 8 goals this season.

“Valencia”last year played in the Cup final. The Gattuso team is in a storm – in the last five matches there is only one victory. Plus, injuries are mowed down – Nico Gonzalez and Samu Castillejo broke down before the tournament. There are no plans to buy players, but there are rumors about 31-year-old Francis Coquelin.

When are they playing?

Dealt with the participants. What couples?

First semi-final: Real Madrid vs. Valencia – 11 January at 22:00 Moscow time.

Second semi-final: Barcelona v Real Betis – 12 January at 22:00.

The semi-finals are played in one match. The final will take place on January 15th.

Where can you see?

Despite the difficulties with broadcasting European leagues, Match TV will show the Spanish Super Cup – back in November, General Producer Alexander Taschin confirmed that the holding had become the owner of television rights to broadcast these tournaments in Russia.