Euphoria and joy prevail in the Blaugrana camp as Barcelona claim their first trophy of the post-Messi era in a magisterial El Clasico win. Xavi Hernandez leads his team to success for the first time as the manager of his beloved club, with a performance worthy of such a momentous triumph, lifting the 14th Supercopa trophy of the club.
Barca News Network brings you four key talking points from the triumphant Super Cup Final against Real Madrid.
1. A huge milestone
A little over a year passed since Xavi Hernandez took over on the bench of the Catalans, and during these roughly 14 months, the former midfield maestro turned the fortunes of the team around, and from a hopeless brigade that started the season on an all-time low, made a proper, organized team, ready to challenge the best of the best, again, just like in the good old times.
The similarly annihilating 4-0 victory in the Bernabeu over the same Real Madrid side last March was already a statement: we are back, and we should be counted with. Following a highly successful summer window, the Blaugrana headed into the new season, swelling from confidence, ambition and significantly higher quality.
However, the group stage of the Champions League brought unexpected difficulties, and a fair but sadly lost fight against the monstrous Bayern München and a rather unlucky duel against Internazionale saw the Catalans being relegated to the second tier of European football. On the other hand, Xavi’s apprentices saw more success on a domestic level, having hold of the lead in the league title race in the middle of the season, and still being in the chase for the Spanish Cup.
In this exact moment, such a crucial victory came at the best possible moment, giving a huge boost to the team turning onto the second – and, to be honest, a way more difficult – half of the season. Moreover, it is a great reassurance that Xavi’s project – which has been already provoking doubtful voices – is going in the right direction, and with that, the future is bright for the Blaugrana.
2. Destroyed opposition
Onto the game, it was a genuine annihilation of a duel, where it wasn’t a matter of question who was the superior force on the pitch. That said, Barcelona outclassed their rivals in every aspect of the game, such as tactical plan, energy level and finessed technical execution. As usual, our dominance was manifested rather at the offensive end of the pitch, but not to take away the impressive defence that shut the major dangers down coming from the Vikings of Madrid.
On the other hand, Real looked lost many times, disorganized and imprecise, waiting miserably to be haunted by our relentless, skulk press, which was visible during the game. Far be it from me to undermine the merits of our players, but Real’s woeful defence has been indispensable in the goals they conceded. Maybe on a better day, it wouldn’t be so easy.
3. An exceptional midfield
And, who else than the star boys of the midfield took the limelight and stepped up when it mattered. Pedri González showed his casual class again, being sensational from his advanced interior position, securing possession, driving forward with his elegant skills and picking up killer passes to set up his peers, while he also put his name on the scoreboard to triple the lead.
The man of the match was, however, our recent Golden Boy, Pablo Gavi. The young Spaniard stole the show at the tender of just 18, scoring the crucial opener and setting up the other goals for Lewandowski and Pedri respectively. His tenacity and excellent movement made him a crucial outlet in attack, from which Barcelona benefitted greatly. His impeccable performance was, however, highlighted by his 3 G/A, which just Lionel Messi could do previously in an El Clasico.
In addition, the veteran Sergio Busquets also put on an impressive performance, having one of the greatest games of his this season alongside Frenkie de Jong. While they were previously seen as rivals for the pivot role, they seem to complement each other perfectly in a double pivot. Busquets’s experience and passing prowess combined with Frenkie’s mobility and skills are slowly forming into a seemingly perfect partnership in the heart of the midfield.
4. Free from the great shadow?
Finally, the curse has been taken down. The heavy shadow, left by the heartbreaking departure of Lionel Messi from Camp Nou, has been finally lifted via the emancipating trophy. Surely, this is more than just a trophy, one that has maybe even less significance than further potential ones like a league title or a European trophy – it goes beyond that. It is the breakthrough.
Since the great Argentine left Catalonia, Barcelona hasn’t won any silverware. But now, the day has come. Xavi Hernandez, the former legendary player for the Catalan giants, has emerged as the saviour of the Blaugrana, leading to glory once again. And this is just the start. There are many more to come, and the ambition doesn’t settle for only Spain’s crown but to conquer the throne of the whole world. May the noblest aim lead us towards glory. Visca Barça!