January 13 – Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 on penalties to win the Spanish Super Cup after the money-driven revamped tournament, exported to Saudi Arabia, ended in a less than thrilling goalless draw.
A competition that few football purists outside Spain (or even inside Spain for that matter) cared about ended in drama when Real’s Federico Valverde was sent off in extra time for fouling Alvaro Morata when he was clean through but was otherwise a somewhat turgid affair.
To weaken the much trumpeted event’s credibility even further, neither finalist had won either the Spanish league or cup last season, both ending the campaign empty-handed.
In fact Real qualified for the new-look Super Cup despite having finished third in La Liga, only selected because Barcelona won the league and were runners-up in the Cup. With Barca and Valencia (Spanish league and cup winners, respectively) having been eliminated in the semifinals of the spurious four-team competition, it was left to the Madrid rivals to fight it out in Jeddah.
The stats will say Real won their 11th Super Cup but more significantly perhaps, the Spanish football federation will pocket a reported €120 million in a three-year deal to hold the competition in Saudi Arabia after shifting it from pre-season in August, its traditional slot, to January.
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