Life’s a funny old business: the old Spanish Super Cup, supplanted by a new format that I like but many find controversial, has found a tiny crack to pop its head through. It’ll be tonight, with the match, brought forward from Sunday, between Real Madrid and Betis, the two new domestic champions, in LaLIga and the Copa del Rey respectively. For some, it poses an almost cosmic question: who should give a guard of honour to who? The answer can be found in rugby, where at the end of the match the losers form a guard of honour for the winners, who then in turn do so to applaud the losing team. A fine tradition rugby maintains. Who goes first and who goes second can be sorted out by the captains.
Interest in Real Madrid vs Betis
It’s a fine match, a Super Cup with no trophy, but with a certain interest. Betis want to finish fifth, for pride and because missing out would mean losing seven million euros; some years ago LaLiga, sensibly, decided to raise the rewards for each place higher up the table, lowering the temptation to offer or take bonuses for losing. And Real Madrid want to go out on a high, of course, aware this is a kind of “general rehearsal of everything”, looking towards the Champions League final next Saturday. They’re not facing Liverpool tonight, but Betis are the ‘Champions of Spain’, the title winning the Cup earns you. For winning the league, Real Madrid are the ‘Champions of the National League Championship’.
Marcelo and Joaquín
Ancelotti has already said that after the rotations of the past few games, tonight we’ll see the players who’ll be in the Champions League final. More or less, you can add, because Alaba isn’t ready yet (Nacho will play) and because no doubt he’ll find a spot for Marcelo, about to receive his honesta missio, or honourable discharge. The Brazilian wants another year, but I don’t think he’ll get it. The signing of Rüdiger (as imposing as the Osborne bull, seen by the side of Spain’s roads) will push Alaba out to the wing, with Mendy as backup. Just for the chance to applaud Marcelo it’s worth going to this game. And to do the same for Betis’ Joaquín, who will play for another year, but who knows if we’ll see him at the Bernabéu. Two footballers who are pure joy, both playing and living.