Real Madrid suffered disappointment as Barcelona ran out the winners of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia with a convincing 3-1 win in which Los Blancos never got going.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team were beaten by Xavi’s Barcelona and renounced the title which they had won in 2022 with a victory over Athletic Club.
Here are five stats which help to understand the battle and the significance of it.
37: The number of Clásicos played since Real Madrid last failed to record a shot on target in the first 45 minutes
Real Madrid had just one attempt in the first half, Karim Benzema’s effort on 17 minutes which went wide, and failed to record a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes of the Clásico.
The last time that happened was 37 Clásicos ago. It was the second leg of a Champions League semi-final which ended 1-1 at Camp Nou, with Marcelo scoring in the second half. That was at the peak of Clásico tensions under José Mourinho, almost 12 years ago.
Eventually, in the 70th minute, Toni Kroos sent an effort from distance into Marc-André ter Stegen’s arms. It was the first of five attempts that would be on target in the second half, though none of them seriously threatened the German goalkeeper until the two in injury time which led to Karim Benzema converting the second.
2: Difference in Spanish Super Cup titles with Barcelona
This was an opportunity for Real Madrid to pull level with Barcelona for the number of Spanish Super Cup titles, but instead Barcelona have pulled away. Real Madrid have won the trophy 13 times, in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2017, 2020 and 2022, while Barcelona have now won it 15 times.
The victory also means that Barcelona have robbed Barcelona of becoming the first team to win consecutive Spanish Super Cup titles since the 2010-2011 Barcelona side with Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi at their peaks. The last time Los Blancos did so was in 1988-1990.
That was all in spite of a strong record in this competition. Real Madrid had come close to equalling Barcelona’s record of consecutive victories when playing in the Spanish Super Cup final when the Catalans won five in a row between 2005 and 2011, but after three victories, Real Madrid now have a defeat in Saudi Arabia.
44.8%: The percentage of minutes played by Eduardo Camavinga in games in which he has featured
Once again, Eduardo Camavinga was hauled off at the break for a second consecutive match having previously been withdrawn by Carlo Ancelotti against Valencia in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup.
Despite having made 25 appearances this season, including 10 starts, he has completed the full 90 minutes just twice - against Cacereño in the Copa del Rey and in the away defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
The 20-year-old midfielder has played 1,071 minutes in total, but that comes out as an average of less than 45 minutes per game. The 44.8% of minutes played is equivalent to 40 minutes and 19 seconds.
0: Duels won, recoveries made or key passes from Luka Modrić
This was a terrible display across the board, but among the most shocking was Luka Modrić. The Croatian had a disastrous 65 minutes before Carlo Ancelotti withdrew him for Dani Ceballos.
While he completed 27 of his 29 passes, only five were in the final third and none of them created a chance. Defensively, he lost both of his duels, failed to recover the ball a single time and committed one foul while winning none.
The 37-year-old has not completed 90 minutes for Real Madrid since the 1-1 draw with Girona in October, which was only the second time all season after also doing so in the 1-0 win over Getafe. His minutes are clearly being managed, but following the World Cup, two games in a week at such a high level may be taking its toll.
1: Real Madrid’s first competitive defeat in Saudi Arabia
Real Madrid have now played six games in Saudi Arabia, all in the Spanish Super Cup, and this is the first time that they have been beaten.
From six games, three have ended in victory, one after extra time, and two draws which were eventually won in penalty shoot-outs. This defeat, the second of the six games to be played against Barcelona, is Real Madrid’s first in the country.
It was a sell-out crowd at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, officially given with an attendance of 57,000 but suspected to be more. That is in contrast to the previous Clásico played there when Covid-19 restrictions meant that only 35,000 fans were able to attend the 68,000-seater stadium.