For the second consecutive year, Real Madrid is set to encounter their El Clasico adversaries, Barcelona, in the Spanish Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia.
Los Blancos secured their place in the Sunday showdown with an extra-time triumph over city rivals Atletico Madrid, while the Catalan giants dispatched Osasuna in their semifinal clash.
Real Madrid is gearing up for their third successive appearance in the Spanish Super Cup final following a dramatic victory over Atletico in the thrilling Madrid derby on Wednesday.
Despite falling behind by a goal, Los Blancos staged a comeback to take a 2-1 lead through goals from Antonio Rudiger and Ferland Mendy. Though facing the prospect of a second defeat to Atleti this season with an Antoine Griezmann equalizer and a Rudiger own goal, Dani Carvajal leveled the scoreline in the 85th minute. Substitutes Joselu and Brahim Diaz then secured a goal each in extra time, securing Real Madrid’s inaugural Spanish Super Cup triumph over their local rivals.
Real Madrid now has the opportunity to claim the trophy for the first time in five seasons and the 13th time in their history, bringing them within one Super Cup of matching record holders Barcelona.
Despite falling short in the previous year’s final against their rivals, Real Madrid enters Sunday’s match with confidence, having maintained an unbeaten streak in their last 20 competitive matches (W17, D3) since a loss to Atleti in September. This run includes a victory in October’s Clasico, where Jude Bellingham’s brace, including a 92nd-minute winner, secured a narrow 2-1 win, marking a second consecutive triumph in competitive head-to-head encounters against Barcelona.
Real Madrid is currently facing challenges as Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, and David Alaba are recovering from anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Lucas Vazquez is also unavailable due to a hamstring injury. Kepa Arrizabalaga, under scrutiny for a recent own goal, may be replaced by Andriy Lunin in goal. Federico Valverde is expected to play despite a knock suffered in the previous match.
Barcelona, on the other hand, anticipates Yamal filling in for the injured Raphinha on the right flank. Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Marcos Alonso are recovering from back surgery, while Inigo Martinez and Gavi are sidelined with muscle and knee injuries. Joao Cancelo is unlikely to return in time for the upcoming match due to a knee problem. Pedri, recovering from injury, is likely to start, and Joao Felix may join the starting XI after making a significant impact in the previous match by providing an assist for Barcelona’s second goal.