Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Barcelona | Spanish Super Cup final

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For as long as football lives, El Clasico will remain the sport’s biggest game. Barcelona and Real Madrid may no longer be the same legend-studded teams they were a decade ago, but there is an aura around the game whenever the two sides lock horns to this day.

Having travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Supercopa de Espana, both teams progressed in their respective semifinals to seal a place in Sunday’s final. This sets up a special Clasico finale, one the world has been eagerly waiting for.

On Sunday night, Xavi and Carlo Ancelotti will meet once more, for the second time this season. Last time, it was the Italian who outclassed the Spanish legend and Ancelotti will look to recreate the same to hoist the silverware this weekend.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Barcelona.

Xavi’s warning

“I think we dominated Real Madrid most of the time in La Liga’s El Clasico. I think that we can dominate them again and win,” Xavi said in his post-match press conference after Barcelona’s win over Osasuna.

There is an element of serious optimism surrounding the Barcelona manager’s statement, but one is forced to accept the fact that there is truth behind his statement.

Real Madrid are indeed one of the world’s most in-form teams at the moment. Los Blancos are unbeaten in their last 20 games across all competitions with their only official loss of the campaign coming against Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

Yet, the first Clasico of the season which was played at Montjuic saw Barcelona come very close to changing that. Purely going by the first-half display, the Blaugranas were far superior to Real Madrid.

Jude Bellingham’s stunning goalscoring form turned it all around for Ancelotti’s men. But if Barcelona could do it once, there is no stopping them from doing it again and even sustaining the performance over 90 minutes.

It is no secret that recent form has no bearing in El Clasico. The Catalans may be far from their free-flowing best, but Real Madrid must be wary of Xavi’s warning and take it seriously. After all, the stakes are very high and it is vital the Merengues do not get ahead of themselves.

A champion’s mentality

Real Madrid have beaten Barcelona once this season. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

The fundamental ideology that Real Madrid runs on is the winning mentality in the dressing room. There is no style of football characteristic to the Merengues nor a certain way to play the game. The only constant is the need to gun down three points in every clash.

Over the years, Los Blancos have set the standards as one of world football’s most consistent and resilient teams. Their never-say-die attitude has become their trademark while comebacks have become a commonality.

To reign victorious against Barcelona in the finale on Sunday, Ancelotti’s men must show that very intent from the get-go. They were defeated by the same opposition in the same competition last season, and the weekend’s clash gives them the ideal chance to take revenge.

Navigating past Barcelona’s defence will be far from easy while defending against the Blaugranas’ creative midfield will be the ultimate test for Real Madrid’s backline. As the men in white displayed in the semifinal, however, their mental strength will be put to the test once more and they must win on that front.

At stake is the team’s first trophy of the season and a massive confidence booster heading into the business half of the campaign. The importance of Sunday’s win, thus, cannot be overstated. It will require every ounce of energy in the Merengues’ dressing room and the mentality of a champion.

Battle of clinicality

Barcelona have struggled across the field this season, with cracks appearing at both ends of the field with uncanny regularity. If Ancelotti must try to outdo his opponents on Sunday night, however, outperforming Barcelona’s attack would be the easier path to follow.

The final, as does any game of football, will boil down to the team’s ability to finish off chances created. Real Madrid bear a significant edge over their arch-rivals on that front.

The Merengues have been precise in the face of goal this season, with Joselu, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo, Jude Bellingham, and Brahim Diaz all playing their part in the final third. Barcelona, meanwhile, have been struggling in that respect via Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Joao Felix and Ferran Torres.

Sunday’s battle is thus likely to boil down between the virtual battle of the arch-rivals’ attacking departments. The unit that strikes the iron when it is hot will emerge victorious while the other will be left repenting missed chances.

As was the case in the season’s first Clasico, Real Madrid will hope to be the side that emerges victorious even if not dominant. After all, the only statistic that matters in football is the goals scored.

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