Amazing Gavi! With a goal and two assists, the nugget of FC Barcelona disgusted Real Madrid, defending champion, 3-1 Sunday in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), and allowed FC Barcelona to lift their 14th Spanish Super Cup, a record.
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The 18-year-old gem opened the scoring on a fine pass from Robert Lewandowski (33rd), then the duo agreed again for the 2-0 signed “Lewy” in the 45th, before Gavi struck again in second period, to offer the ball 3-0 to his young sidekick of 20 years Pedri (69th).
In stoppage time (90th + 3), the Ballon d’Or 2022 Karim Benzema managed to reduce the gap in two stages … but not enough to tarnish the brilliant display of the Catalans, who won the first title of the Xavi era.
The last time the Blaugranas won this Super Cup, Lionel Messi was still there: it was in 2018 against Sevilla FC (2-1). Since then, Real Madrid had won the 2020 and 2022 editions under the new “final four” formula in Saudi Arabia, and Athletic Bilbao had conquered that of 2021.
Is this change of throne synonymous with a change of era in Spain? After taking the first place in La Liga from Real just before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in early November, Barça de Xavi, despite being transferred to the Europa League, continues to threaten the omnipotence of Real on the Spanish scene with this 14th title in Spanish Super Cup (against 12 for Real).
Despite the nervous gestures of encouragement from captain Karim Benzema after the first goal conceded, the Merengues, feverish in defense, silent in attack, never found the key to worry Barça.
Their first shot on target did not come until the 70th. And the first truly dangerous shot in the 79th, on an attempt by Rodrygo deflected by Marc-André ter Stegen.
Opposite, Thibaut Courtois tried to limit the damage after returning from the locker room, but Catalan domination was total.
“It was a bad match in every way,” summed up Carlo Ancelotti after the match. “But I’m sure Real Madrid will come back, because Real Madrid always come back,” he added.
Carried by an impressive Lewandowski of realism and young people on fire, the training led by Xavi lifted its first title for almost two years, the last being the King’s Cup in April 2021. An eternity for the Blaugrana institution.
– Gavi, a “contagious character” –
And the second half of the season is shaping up under the best auspices. The young Spanish international Gavi, irreproachable throughout the game, delighted the public at the King-Fahd stadium in Riyadh, who gave him an ovation when he left in 89th place in place of Ansu Fati, and again broke records of precociousness.
At 18 years and 163 days, Gavi became the youngest player in history to sign at least one goal and one assist in a Clasico. He is also the third-youngest goalscorer in Clasico history, behind team-mate Ansu Fati and legend Raul.
“He is a boy who moves us all. He has a huge heart. He is so committed, he puts his whole soul into his football… And his character is contagious, it spreads to the whole team. He has innate leadership qualities. It comes from within. It’s amazing. And he does all this at 18 … ”, blew the Catalan coach in a post-match press conference, seduced.
Are we witnessing the return of the great Barça? “Since the departure of Leo (Messi, Ed), we have had difficult times, but now we have created a team. And I hope it’s the first title in a long series,” said Xavi.