SPANISH SUPER CUP
Valencia vs Real Madrid preview: line-ups, news, quotes
Valencia and Real Madrid kick off the Spanish Super Cup in it's new format on Wednesday night. Here's a preview of the game with line-ups, injuries and news.
The Spanish Super Cup has a new format and a new home. It will be played as a final four with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Atlético Madrid with the first of the two semi-finals on Wednesday 8 January 2020 with kick-off at 20:00 CET. Valencia will play Real Madrid in that game before Atlético Madrid and Barcelona do battle on Thursday before the final on Sunday 12 January.
It used to be just one final at the start of the year between the league champions and the Copa del Rey champions but Luis Rubiales, the Spanish football federation has shaken things up because he says the old format had run its course and was failing to capture the public's imagination anymore. The money earned from taking it to Saudi Arabia will, he says, be put back into women's football and the lower leagues.
If you are wondering how the four teams involved managed to qualify for the mini-tournament, you can read the process behind it here.
Super Cup line-ups
Real Madrid announced that Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema would not travel to Suadi Arabia but the returning Marcelo and James are in the squad along with Brahim Diaz and Mariano, who might both be on the way out of the club soon. Eden Hazard has been ruled out and Marco Asensio also continues his recovery. Aside from that, as is usual, Zidane has called everyone available to him.
Real Madrid confirmed XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy, Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos, Isco, Rodrygo, Jovic.
Valencia are missing four players for the game including the important Rodrigo, Kangin Lee, Guedes, Piccini and Vallejo. They are unbeaten in seven in all competitions with their last defeat coming in November against Real Betis. As they drive up the table and have a Champions League last 16 tie to look forward to, it will be interested to see Alberto Celades' team selection for the new Super Cup.
Confirmed Valencia XI: Domenech, Gaya, Garaya, Paulista, Wass, Soler, Parejo, Coquelin, Ferran Torres, Gameiro, Kondogbia.
Zidane and Celades pre-match quotes
All eyes are on Luka Jovic as Karim Benzema has been forced out through injury. He has not lived up to his billing as a €60 million striker and needs to turn a corner with the Super Cup offering an ample opportunity to do so. "Jovic is the future," Zidane said before the game. "He has to be calm. He is learning. He's a boy who wants to learn a lot. He's very good. He'll get a lot of goals. We've backed him and you have to be calm with him."
"It's a different context," said Celades during his pre-match press conference about the draw against Real Madrid before Christmas. "We will play at a neutral stadium here but in that game, we had the support of the Mestalla behind us. But obviously we have the mentality to come out and go for it."
The venue: King Abdullah Stadium
The game will be played at King Abdullah Stadium in Jeddah. It fits 62,345 people and cost €510 million to construct. Reports suggest, however, that there are still 10,000 tickets available for the clash on Wednesday night with Real Madrid fans buying just 700 of their allocation and Valencia fans purchasing a measly 26.
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