FC Barcelona: The Clásico Gala in the Supercopa final against Real Madrid is just the start – the Barça empire strikes back

After the final redemptive whistle, Robert Lewandowski raised his arms into the Riyadh night sky before welcoming his colleagues with a big smile.

FC Barcelona’s title drought is over. Exactly 639 days after winning the Spanish Cup (in April 2021), the Catalans partially overpowered arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Supercopa del Clásico final on Sunday and eventually dethroned the Royal Family with a 3-1 well deserved (2 -0) win.

“We dominated Real”, a delighted Barça coach Xavi commented on his first title as coach of his heart club: “It will remain forever! I hope it’s not than the first title of a long series.”

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The Spanish press also raved about the Blaugrana’s performance. “Super-Barça at the Supercopa” was the title of “AS”. The sports newspaper “Marca” even went further: “Barça devastates an empty Madrid”.

If it is ultimately “only” to win the Supercup, supposedly the smallest title, the balance of power on the Iberian Peninsula seems to have clarified, at least for the moment. Especially since the Clásico triumph could be a kind of first spark for Barcelona for the second half of the season.

Barça leaves the background behind

“It’s the start of a new era,” trumpeted Barca defender Ronald Araújo, adding in a euphoric mood: “The title is extremely important for the club, for us as a team and also for me personally. . I cried with joy. We are all a stone lifted from my heart!”

No wonder, after all, silverware is out of the question for a club so blessed with success after a turbulent pre-season. The joy on Sunday after the feeling of accomplishment in the Saudi metropolis was therefore great.

“We knew we had to take this opportunity. We have been through a period of changing clubs and dressing up and that will definitely strengthen us in the fight for more titles,” captain Sergio Busquets predicted.

FC Barcelona celebrates

Photo credit: Getty Images

Xavi puts Barca on the right track

In the autumn of last year, it still looked like the Catalans were threatened with another disappointing season despite the summer transfer offensive. In the league, Real Madrid first set the tone and in the Champions League, as in the previous season, they had to face relegation to the Europa League.

The negative highlight was the sportingly worthless, but still devastating 0:3 loss to FC Bayern at the Camp Nou, which brought Barca ridicule and nastiness – but the tide has now turned.

The 2019 champions are currently unbeaten in the league for seven games (six wins, one draw) and lead the table three points clear of long-time rivals Real, who have struggled recently.

Coach Xavi, who earned praise from chairman Joan Laporta after the Supercopa win, undoubtedly played a big part in this comeback. “He’s a great coach. I’m convinced of Xavi – he has the knowledge and the personality, Barca implement his game ideas,” the 60-year-old enthused about his manager.

In fact, the team seems to be adopting Xavi’s philosophy more and more. “We dominated the ball and were good at pressing. It was very, very good. We created a lot of chances and defended very well. The players did a great job,” praised the former pro after Sunday’s win.

Barça coach Xavi (left) and his protege Gavi

Photo credit: Getty Images

Top talent Gavi inspires Xavi

The standout player was top talent Gavi, who excelled with three goalscoring points (one hit, two assists) and was consequently named ‘Man of the Match’.

“Gavi inspires us all. He plays with heart, soul and character, which rubs off on the whole team – and that at the age of 18. He has a born leadership ability. It’s just spectacular,” said Xavi, a veritable hymn of praise for his youngster.

With his outstanding performance, the 18-year-old even eclipsed superstar Lewandowski, who also scored a goal. From the Blaugrana’s point of view, it’s to be hoped that Gavi can maintain this form.

Finally, Lewandowski is forced to watch the next two league matches against Getafe (January 22) and Girona (January 28). The reason is a ban imposed by the Spanish federation (RFEF) on the Pole, who after his yellow-red card in November against Osasuna (2-1) got carried away to make a derogatory gesture towards the referee Jesús Gil . Manzano.

However, if Gavi and his teammates continue to improve, Lewandowski will likely leave the pitch to celebrate more often this season.

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