It’s all about the money.
That’s the sad truth about what football has become, whether in Spain or elsewhere in Europe.
If there’s a quick buck to be had, you can be damn sure that the suits are like bees around a honeypot, seeing how much can be made.
What was wrong with keeping the Spanish Super Cup as a pre-season friendly, and, shock horror, playing it in Spain?!
It was bad enough that Barca had to go to Morocco to win the last one, but now there’s agreement to play the next three editions in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, meaning hardly any true supporters will get to see it live unless they want to shell out more money directly after Christmas. Come on, man.
"It won't be the Super Cup of shame." Spanish Football Federation announces a three-year deal with Saudi Arabia for the four-team mini-tournament, with women to be allowed to watch games "without restrictions." https://t.co/R8XGz6CjiI pic.twitter.com/DSMDaakBTS— AS English (@English_AS) November 11, 2019
Moving it from its traditional summer slot to directly after the new year could also present problems and the scheduling certainly doesn’t suit Barcelona.
A tough November/December where the likes of Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Dortmund and Inter have to be tackled, is followed in early January by a traditionally tough Catalan derby at Espanyol.
Directly after that, the Blaugranes will now have to fly to Saudi, play Atleti again in what’s always a tough encounter, and then against the winners of Real Madrid v Valencia three days later.
If that weren’t enough, they’ve got to travel to Mestalla just two weeks after the final.
Spanish Super Cup to be held in Saudi Arabia for the next three years https://t.co/h8TVInCdlm— Michael Eugene McCrory (@eugene_mccrory) November 11, 2019
It’s a horrific run of fixtures which is going to require every player to be at their very best for the next two months, as there really isn’t the opportunity to ease off given the state of play in both La Liga and the Champions League.
Maybe Ernesto Valverde will have to swallow a bit of pride and allow a certain amount of rotation when possible.
We’ve had two seasons where the main players have run out of steam at the business end and most critical point of the campaign, so the Basque has to try and work something into the fixture calendar.
[SPORT] | Busquets: "Playing against Atlético is always difficult"— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) November 11, 2019
The Barca midfielder spoke after the Spanish Super Cup draw pic.twitter.com/Smgxo9JIU2
Whether he does or doesn’t, it’ll be interesting to see how much the Super Cup takes out of them at that point.
Unlike a Copa del Rey fixture that might normally be played around the same time, and where a changed XI is almost a foregone conclusion, when there’s a trophy to be won, however insignificant in the grand scheme of things, Barca are always going to play their best XI.
And both of those games - against Atleti and Real/Valencia - will be high tempo, high intensity, high quality battles, where no quarter is asked or given by either side.
Only time will tell whether our season gets derailed as a result.