Real Madrid can use Supercopa triumph as stepping stone to historic season
18 months; for supporters of most clubs this is a very acceptable period of time to wait between lifting trophies.
For Real Madrid, however, 18 long months is a terrifying amount of time not to be crowned champion of some kind of competition – as Steve McManaman noted in BT Sport’s game commentary:
“When there is silverware to be won, you are expected to win it when you wear this white Real Madrid kit.”
But that’s how long Los Blancos had to wait between lifting the La Liga title in July 2020 and ultimately get their hands on a piece of silverware by beating Athletic Club 2-0 in the Supercopa final on Sunday night.
As expected, it was quite a turgid affair with a dominating Blancos slowly carrying their opposition to the point of submission, before a resurgence of a trailing Bilbao almost paid off. In the end, however, Real were just too good – as they have been for the majority of the 2021/22 season.
It took a sensational Luka Modric finish, a Karim Benzema penalty – both seven minutes either side of half – and Thibaut Courtois’ brilliant penalty save to seal the 2-0 Supercopa triumph.
Real’s 12th Supercopa title puts an end to a baronial spell that they will too willingly forget. The necropolis that was the 2020/21 campaign represented the club’s first trophyless season for 11 years, but times have changed and Carlo Ancelotti’s dynamic squad resemble the Real of old – the Real who struck fear in all of Europe.
They were crisp, calm and ruthless in every facet of Sunday night’s game. From the stoicism of Courtois and the central defensive partnership of Eder Militao (who was unlucky to see red late) and David Alaba, to the sheer class of the esteemed midfield trio, and from the electric wing play to dominance Benzema’s world-class powerhouse, Real were never going to pass up the opportunity to win the Supercopa.
With a trophy already under their belt, Los Blancos have the perfect platform on which to build this tenure. Having beaten eight of the other nine who currently occupy the top half of La Liga earlier in the season (they drew 0-0 with Villarreal), Ancelotti’s side are visibly superior to the chasing pack of the Spanish elite.
While they only hold a five-point lead at the top, it looks like the La Liga crown is already theirs. And with current form in mind, few others can claim to be so equipped for Champions League glory this season too.
However, let’s not rush. The Copa del Rey, La Liga and Europe’s top prize are still far from decided – Ancelotti will know better than anyone how to take the rest of the season game by game and see what comes of it.
But, after getting his hands on some early silverware, it’s starting to look like a throwback to glorious times at the Santiago Bernabeu.