The Supercopa final thrashing could have been bigger against an opponent who failed to compete

Real Madrid destroy Barça and put Xavi's project in doubt

Nacho del Real Madrid levanta el trofeo con sus compañeros y el entrenador Carlo Ancelotti tras ganar la Supercopa de España
Real Madrid's Nacho lifts the trophy with his teammates and coach Carlo Ancelotti after winning the Spanish Super Cup - REUTERS/JUAN MEDINA

There are outcomes that can be seen coming a long way off. What could happen in the Super Cup final was very predictable. Real Madrid's five goals against Atlético de Madrid and Los Blancos' form were far superior to Xavi's Barça, who suffer from all sorts of problems on and off the pitch.   

  1. Real Madrid's superiority

The Super Cup final in Riyadh was Real Madrid's second footballing spectacle for the fans there because the home side decided not to turn out for the final of a lesser trophy. Neither did Barça, who could smell a massacre after the season their team has been having and Xavi's thousand and one excuses to make it all look like an accident.   

Real Madrid's superiority

After 10 minutes Vinicius had already scored two goals and Barça were still waiting for their defenders to come out of the dressing room. Araújo, Koundé, Christensen and Balde all hit rock bottom in the final. It is hard to understand why the Uruguayan plays on the wing because his contribution in attack is nil and in defence he showed his shortcomings against a very fast Vinicius. Koundé and Christensen moved the defence forward in midfield without the pressure of Pedri, Torres, Sergi Roberto Gündogan or De Jong being at least minimally aggressive and Real Madrid smelt blood as soon as the game started.   

Vinicius Junior del Real Madrid anota su segundo gol
Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior scores his second goal - REUTERS/JUAN MEDINA

Tchouaméni, Kroos and Bellingham set up a passing partnership between the lines as Valverde swept aside any Barça attempt to attack through midfield. The Brazilians only had to run at the back of Balde and Araújo and the final would have little mystery.   

Lewandowski's indolence this season is worthy of terminating his contract and sending him back to Germany. It's the danger of signing veteran players, who perform immediately, but who can turn their noses up for any reason and become part of the club's furniture. His goal woke Barça up to a moment of dominance, but it all came to nothing when Araújo blatantly grabbed Vinicius to earn the 3-1 penalty.  

Real Madrid had Barça at their mercy. They battered them in attack and hardly suffered in defence. The fourth goal was a gift from the defence to Rodrygo inside the box and Ancelotti's changes made it clear that the Madrid side wanted more. Brahim came close to getting his daily goal while Modric, Ceballos, Camavinga and Joselu were not out of place in a team that Ancelotti has turned into a well-adjusted family. Even Lunin was rewarded with a starting place and it looks like that will be the case for the rest of the season.   

Aficionados del Real Madrid animan a su equipo antes del inicio de la final de la Supercopa de España entre el Real Madrid y Barcelona en el estadio Al-Awwal Park de Riad, en enero 14 de septiembre de 2024
Real Madrid fans cheer on their team before the start of the Spanish Super Cup final between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Al-Awwal Park stadium in Riyadh, Riyadh, on January 14 September 2024 - AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE

At Barça, Xavi has no room for manoeuvre. Joao Felix has decided to join Lewandowski's indolence and neither Fermin nor Yamal are capable of raising the level of a team that no longer believes in its coach since the dirty trick the club played on him in the Antwerp call-up. Deco and Laporta are suffocating the coach they never wanted in order to make his life impossible. Something similar to the humiliation to which they subjected De Jong or Koeman himself, which bordered on harassment, so that they would leave the club without being paid a euro.   

Nobody believes in Xavi and even less in his message. Words where there is no self-criticism, where everything is justified, while a message of excellence is sent to the club's members that is not matched by what is then seen on the pitch. The club is in serious danger because Laporta's lifeline had little value: selling part of the club and signing players to continue fighting for everyone. That has already happened.  

El delantero brasileño del Real Madrid Vinicius Junior celebra tras marcar su tercer gol durante la final de la Supercopa de España entre el Real Madrid y Barcelona en el estadio Al-Awwal Park de Riad. el 14 de enero de 2024
Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring his third goal during the Spanish Super Cup final between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Al-Awwal Park stadium in Riyadh. on January 14, 2024 - AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE

Now there remains the economic ruin that is made more bearable because LaLiga turns a blind eye to many economic issues and a fan base that has turned its back on the club in its exile in Montjuic. The Negreira affair can no longer be covered up and one day it will explode in the hands of this board.   

El Trofeo de la Supercopa de España se exhibe antes del partido de fútbol final de la Supercopa de España entre el Real Madrid y Barcelona en el estadio Al-Awwal Park de Riad, el 14 de enero de 2024
The Spanish Super Cup Trophy is displayed before the Spanish Super Cup final football match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Al-Awwal Park stadium in Riyadh on 14 January 2024 - AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE

What happened in Riyadh was more than just a match. It was confirmation that injuries have united Real Madrid even more and that they are capable of winning everything this season and that Barça are breaking down without anyone being able to do anything about it.