Real Madrid CF vs FC Barcelona
Competition/Round: 2023 Spanish Super Cup Final
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Frenkie De Jong, Ousmane Dembélé (doubt)
Real Madrid Outs & Doubts: David Alaba, Aurélien Tchouaméni, Lucas Vázquez (out), Éder Militão, Eduardo Camavinga (doubt)
Date/Time: Sunday, January 15, 2023, 10pm local time, 8pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7pm GMT (UK), 2pm ET, 11am PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Monday)
Venue: King Fahd Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoechea
VAR: Jose Luis González González
How to watch on TV: ABC (USA), BT Sport 1 (UK), Startimes World Football (Nigeria), others
How to watch online: ESPN+ (USA), BTSport.com (UK), others
Following a wild semi-final and a thrilling win on penalties over Real Betis, Barcelona have no time to rest and are set to play their first Final of the season as they face historic rivals Real Madrid in the latest edition of El Clásico with the 2023 Spanish Super Cup on the line.
These two teams needed extra-time and penalties to win their semi-finals and have been quite mediocre since returning from the World Cup, but form and fitness go out the window when El Clásico comes along, especially when a title is at stake.
Yes, this is the least important title and neither side will be happy if it ends up being the only trophy they win this season. But once the game kicks off none of that matters: it’s the freaking Clásico, and the winner gets a trophy. It’s a giant game.
And when it comes to giant games where the winner gets a trophy, no other team in the world is more experienced or better prepared than Real Madrid with Carlo Ancelotti as its coach. As painful as it is to admit, Madrid know how to win finals and Ancelotti is a calm, intelligent presence that knows exactly which buttons to push to both motivate and prepare his team for battle.
On the other end of the spectrum is Xavi Hernández, who is coaching in his first Final outside of Qatar and has yet to win a truly big game in charge of Barça. The next five and a half months are gigantic for the boss, and winning his first trophy over his biggest rival and against a better, more experienced coach will be a major morale boost for him more than anyone else.
Barça’s best win under Xavi is still the 4-0 destruction at the Bernabéu 10 months ago, and the 3-2 loss in extra-time against Madrid in last year’s Super Cup was the first sign that the Blaugrana could really compete against their main rivals once again. Barça must channel the same intensity, focus and passion from those two games to win this one, and they simply have to want it more while also remaining calm and poised.
It’s El Clásico. It’s a Final. It’s Xavi’s biggest game yet.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Fati
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Nacho, Rüdiger, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Modric; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius
Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti just know how to win finals. Barça are flawed and Xavi is the inferior coach in this matchup. Why am I still picking Barça to win? I have no idea. But there you go: 2-1 to the good guys.