The two-legged Spanish Super Cup was contested on August 13 at the Camp Nou, and on the 16th, at the Santiago Bernabéu. Back then, just like today, there was talk of a potential guard of honour for the Liga and European champions, however, this was not seen. This Saturday is unlikely to witness any change of heart.
Although the feeling on paying tribute to their bitter rivals may not have altered, some changes have occured since they last met. We pick out our five:
Ceballos chooses Madrid over Barça
Behind the scenes, Los Blancos hierarchy clinched their first victory. The covers of Catalan papers Mundo Deportivo ("Ceballos prefers Barça) and Sport ("Ceballos on the verge") had the blaugrana well placed to capture the signing of one of the shining lights of the summer's Euro Under-21s. He was named player of the tournament and there was excitment, along with a sense of relief, in Barcelona as a player deemed good enough to take over where Iniesta would soon be leaving was all set for the move. But Madrid stepped in, got the player to put pen to paper on a 14 million euro deal and the next day Barça secured Nelson Semedo to cover the news.
A few days before the Super Cup finals, another battle was taking place in the backrooms of Europe's elite clubs. Brazilian star Neymar Jr, who had been seen as the future of Barça once Messi had hung up his boots, was on the verge of leaving. In the 'friendly' Miami Clásico, Neymar had shone, and after the 3-2 victory for his side, Gerard Piqué took to social media with a picture of him and his teammate along with the message "He's staying!". That would haunt the Spanish defender as a source of mockery as the forward deleted himself from Valverde's MSN option on 4 August as PSG rewrote transfer history by paying the 222 million euros of his exit clause.
Barca secure Paulinho as Madrid await Galactico
Madrid's humiliation of Barça at the Camp Nou in the first leg (1-3) resulted in the Barça board announcing the signing of Paulinho on the following day. The price of 40 million euros raised many an eyebrow at the time. Madrid, for their part, were busy enough in the summer transfer window with the reinforcements of Ceballos, Theo, Mayoral, Marcos Llorente and Vallejo. But other these 'stars of the future' were a positive sign of sensible policy, much speculatation surrounded the potential arrival of Monaco's Kylian Mbappé. In the end he folowed Neymar to PSG for 180 million.
A Camp Nou stuffed with Madridistas
Madrid fans turned up in their droves for the away fixture of the Spanish Super Cup. Normally seats in El Clásico are hard to come by for the travelling support but this official game was the only one not to be tied to season ticket holders so their was more of a mix. The overall attendance of 89,514 was the lowest for a meeting between these two rivals in a decade at the Camp Nou but that will not be the case on Saturday which will white to the brim.
Time difference: the Asian impact
With Clásico attraction in the Asian market huge, the game on 23 December accomodates with a 13:00 CET kick off translating as 20:00 in China. It was a different story in the summer when the return match at the Bernabéu started at 23:00 (06:00 in China). Clearly a significant difference in temperature aids this too.