It was Xavi’s first trophy as Barça manager as his new generation of stars look to reestablish themselves in the post-Lionel Messi era at the club.
There is certainly cause for excitement as fans watched their team breeze past their fierce rivals in the one-sided final in Saudi Arabia.
Gavi, who was named the world’s best young player at the Ballon d’Or awards last year, was the star of the show after scoring the opener and assisting both Robert Lewandowski and Pedri.
The 18-year-old’s quality on the ball and movement off it was too much for Madrid’s defense and fans will hope it’s a sign of better things to come for a club that has been mired in financial controversy in recent years.
“We knew that it was an opportunity that we had to seize, we are going through a time of changes in the club and in the dressing room, and this win will strengthen us to continue fighting for more titles,” Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets told Movistar Plus.
Karim Benzema did score a late consolation for Real Madrid but, in truth, the score could have been a lot worse for Carlo Ancelotti’s side if it hadn’t been for some smart saves from Thibaut Courtois.
Barça managed to quell the threat from Madrid’s attacking stars, with Los Blancos failing to register a shot on target in the first half.
Star winger Vinícius Jr. was quiet for much of the game as Xavi deployed defender Ronald Araujo to keep tabs on the young Brazilian.
No team has won the Spanish Super Cup more times than Barcelona (14) with Real Madrid the second most successful team in the competition with 12 titles.
Why in Saudi Arabia?
The game was held at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) struck a deal with the Gulf nation to host the tournament until 2029 – a deal that will earn the governing body $34 million a year, according to Reuters.
Last year, Amnesty International urged clubs taking part in the competition to take a stand over women’s rights and equality issues, concerned by Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and implications of sportswashing. “Sportswashing” is the phenomenon of burnishing one’s reputation through sport.
“We are asking your organisation to honour its commitments and responsibilities to human rights,” Amnesty urged clubs in a letter sent in January 2022 and seen by Reuters.