Real Madrid vs Valencia summary: Madrid win on penalties, score, goals and highlights | Spanish Super Cup 2023
Real Madrid vs Valencia, Spanish Super Cup 2023 semi-final
Full-time: Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia (after extra-time, Real Madrid win 4-3 on penalties)
They've done it the hard way but they've done it! Real Madrid are through to Sunday's final!
Real Madrid, eh? They just always find a way to get the job done. Last week they toiled badly to a narrow victory in the Copa del Rey against fourth-tier Cacereño (remember them?). Now, they've scraped past a Valencia side who have really struggled either side of the World Cup break but impressed in this game.
In the opening 20 minutes or so, it looked as if they might be in for a relatively straightforward 90 minutes. Rodrygo, Benzema and Valverde all went close but Valencia stormed back into the contest and unsettled Madrid with their high pressing, which allowed them to get more than a foothold in the match. But their high defensive line looked as if it might be their undoing and so it proved, with Militão picking out the run of Benzema, who was felled in the box and converted from the spot to give Carlo Ancelotti's men the lead.
Losing a goal so close to half-time could've knocked the stuffing out of Valencia but they struck back less than 30 seconds into the second period, with Samuel Lino diverting Toni Lato's cross in at the back post. A raft of substitutions disrupted the flow of the game after the hour-mark, which worked in Real Madrid's favour as Rino Gattuso's side looked comfortable, without ever troubling Thibaut Courtois.
A late flurry from Real Madrid suggested they were the fresher going into extra-time but the game to and froed in the last 30 minutes, with Courtois and Giorgi Mamardashvili forced to intervene, spectacularly on a couple of occasions.
There was to be no further scoring and it was Real Madrid who held their nerve in the shootout, as if there was any doubt. The mental strength they continue to show, and the different ways they find to win games in which they're not at their best, means it's no fluke when they do.
They'll face either Real Betis or Barcelona in the final on Sunday.
Real Madrid to play Real Betis or Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final
Real Madrid are through to yet another final, where they will face either Real Betis or arch-enemies Barcelona.
The Andalusians take on the Catalans tomorrow (Thursday), with kick-off at 2pm ET. My esteemed colleague William Allen will be brining you live coverage of that one right here on AS USA!
The final, meanwhile, will be held on Sunday 15 January, kick-off also at 2pm ET.
Can anyone remember the last time Real Madrid lost a final?
"We are very happy to reach another final. We want to dedicate it to everyone who has shown us their affection since we arrived in Riyadh,. And to the Real Madrid fans, of course. Valencia competed well and knew how to play their game. We had chances, we didn't take them and it went to penalties. We won, which is the important thing".
"It's a strange season because of the World Cup. The team has made a big effort, because we deserved to win in 90 minutes. We'll adapt to what's coming up."
"We have the best goalkeeper in the world and today he proved it again. We took our penalties very well, in any case".
"Our objective was to reach the final. Whoever we play will make it difficult for us."
Heartbreak for Valencia
A tough night for Valencia after putting in so much effort. But as Almeida said, that performance should stand them in good stead for the rest of the season as they look to turn things around in LaLiga.
"It was a complicated game, a night of suffering. After their goal, everything became much harder. But the club's motto is 'fight until the end'. We're in the final and only those who reach it can win it."
"In the first half, we were in control. But in the second half we dropped a level. We hardly created any chances and in extra time, we improved a bit. It's obvious that we didn't play at our best, but we delivered in the end. We lacked a bit of freshness; we have just come back from the break and we have work to do. This team is hanging in there, I like that a lot."
"It really annoys me to have conceded a goal so soon after the restart (in the second half). Just a cross that we didn't defend properly."
"Everyone is very tired. But Carvajal and Mendy have fully recovered. We'll see with Lucas Vázquez. Camavinga has a knock and I've spoken to Militão and he's OK now."
"Valencia played well positionally and didn't look as if they were under any pressure. They defended well. They played a great game."
"My relationship with Gattuso as is it should be. You have to respect people".
"I didn't really have that much to do but when I did, I tried to help the team. We weren't clinical enough in attack and they had some chances, but we have to keep improving. There were some things we didn't do well today, but we have to keep improving. We now have a few days to work on some things."
"We don't care who we play in the final, they're two good teams who are doing well. They'll make it difficult for us. It'll be a great final."
"I'm not worried, we need to score more goals and not concede goals like today. We need to start games better. It also depends on the other team, we need to look at it with the coaching staff. We didn't press as much in the second half and they were more comfortable. But it's not worrying."
"We don't practice penalties much, but it's a matter of looking at videos of the penalty takers. Cavani shoots more to the right, that's why I went to that side. Gayá missed a penalty on the left and the other day he scored in the middle, so I knew he would go to the middle or to the right and I went half-and-half. We were lucky, the guys took their very well, all four of them scored.
"I'm really proud of the team and the togetherness we showed. I think the fans will believe in us more after this performance."
"This will definitely give us a confidence boost. We need to keep it going. I'm sure we're going to start winning more games."
"The first word Gattuso used after the shootout was 'pride'. It's a shame, we deserved to win. But that's sport."
"It was a tough game, I don't think either side really got into full flow. It was hard going but we're in the final and that's what matters."
"Their goal so early in the second half really knocked us out of our stride. Valencia played really well, it must be said."
"We really wanted to score a second to avoid going to penalties but the ball wouldn't go in. But we're happy, we're in the final, where we want to be."
"I don't care if we play Barcelona or Betis in the final."
Real Madrid reaction coming up
Marco Asensio and Thibaut Courtois have been speaking after the game, stay tuned for what they had to say about the penalty shoot-out victory.
Real Madrid doing Real Madrid things
There was a lot of talk last season about how Real Madrid were 'lucky' to win the Champions League. They were outplayed for long spells by Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain in particular and needed a superb performance from Courtois in the final to lift the trophy.
But when you win so often even though you're not 'playing at your best', it can't be 'luck'. Their will to win and relentlessness is what makes them one of the best around.
Thibaut Courtois key to Real Madrid victory
Thibaut Courtois made a decisive save in the penalty shootout but this one from Fran Pérez in extra-time was his stand-out stop. The Valencia youngster must've thought he'd sent his team into the final at Real Madrid's expensive.
Here's how the game ended up statistically. I said it at half-time and I'll repeat it now: I don't think the 'shots on goal' stat shows how even this game was. Valencia could undoubtedly have won it.
Courtois saves from Gayà! Real Madrid win the shootout!
Straight down the middle, Courtois anticipated it!
Gayà has to score...
4-3 Real Madrid! Asensio scores!
Asensio next to take...
3-3! Guillamón scores!
High and handsome!
3-2 Real Madrid! Kroos scores!
Mamardashvili sent the wrong way!
Kroos next for Real Madrid...
2-2! Ilaix scores!
The shortest run-up ever, the coolest penalty ever!
2-1 Real Madrid! Luka Modric scores!
Mamardashvili almost got it!
1-1! Cömer misses!
Blazed well over the bar!
Second penalty conversion of the game for Benz!
Benzema up next...
Cavani first to take...
Who still has the legs to take a penalty?
Benzema, Asensio, Vinícius, Modric, Kroos for Real Madrid, you'd imagine?
Cavani for Valencia. They'll need a few more though.
Full-time: Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia
Indeed it was the last chance!
It's off to penalties we go!
A promising break for Valencia but Pérez brings it to a halt without having an obvious pass on. That's surely the last chance.
Two minutes to go before penalties!
Asensio fancies it and strikes it goalwards but Mamardashvili gathers comfortably down low.
A bit of controversy as Foulquier looks to break away for Valencia but is penalised for catching Kroos in the face with his arm.
A free-kick to Real Madrid in a dangerous position...
'Nothing' is the short answer.
I don't think you'd be interested in the long one so let's leave it there.
Corner for Real Madrid after a break down the left from Asensio. What can they do here?
Duro and Pérez are looking lively, if a little wasteful. Duro tries to slide the ball through for the run of Pérez, put Rüdiger gets in the way and sticks it out for a corner, which is cleared.
Foulquier saw his name up in lights there!
These lights, however, have no bulbs in them as his shot from all of 40 yards is blocked.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR VALENCIA!
They won't get a better chance than that. And what a save from Courtois!
Ilaix slides a perfect ball through for Pérez, who again takes a fraction of a second longer than he might've done. He does get his shot away this time and probably can't believe Courtois has saved it. Wow.
Benzema has the ball in the net! But it's long after the referee has blown for a free-kick to Valencia for a handball by Vinícius.
Nacho is next to see yellow. He clips Cavani from behind and looks to give him a 'friendly' kick as the Uruguayan lies on the floor.
Ahhhhh, that was a missed opportunity for Valencia! Pérez and Duro work some space on the left and the latter has the chance to pick out Cavani on the edge of the box but misplaces his pass and the chance is gone.
15 minutes to go! Who's winning this?
Valverde off, Ceballos on for Real Madrid.
V for Vinícius, V for victory?
It's not been his night so far but Vinícius has come into this game more as it's gone on. A big 15 minutes coming up!
Half-time in extra-time.
You know how it goes. We'll be back underway before you can say Giorgi Mamardashvili.
Two extra minutes.
Another great stop from Mamardashvili!Kroos smashes one goalwards from the edge of the box which draws a smart save from the Valencia keeper. The Vinícius curls one narrowly over from around the same distance.
Benzema and Vinícius are so good together. OK, their link-up didn't quite come off that time but the Frenchman always knows where his teammate is going to be and how to find him, even if they're trying to play inside a phone box.
Fran Pérez! What a chance! Almeida plays a superb slide-rule pass into the path of the youngster, who drifts into space and is bearing down on goal. He can shoot, he can pass...he does nothing and gets closed out.
I've not been counting but I honestly think the last eight or nine times Benzema has touched the ball, he's back-flicked it.
Asensio looks to lead a Real Madrid counter-attack, Almeida halts his progress and that's a yellow card.
Gayà has really whipped some delicious crosses into the box from the left, Rüdiger had to be alert to clear that one from near the six-yard line.
A cheeky nutmeg attempt by Vinícius on Foulquier and the Brazilian gets (unintentionally) clattered in the face for his troubles.
Musah and Lato both look shattered and are taken off, replaced by Foulquier and Ilaix.
Chance at the other end! Gayà whips another fantastic cross into a superb area, Duro gets a flick on it under pressure from Mendy but can only divert is over the bar.
A superb save from Mamardashvili! The ball sits up for Vinícius at the edge of the area, he takes a touch and curls one towards the corner, only for the Georgian to leap across goal and push it wide.
A nasty landing for Carvajal as he looks to beat Gayà to the ball in the air. The referee gives a free-kick (not sure it was) and Cavani is booked for protesting.
No further changes...away we go!
Full-time: Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia
Are you ready for more? We're heading to extra-time!
If it's like the first few minutes of the second half or the last few minutes of the second half, we'll be in for a good show. Fingers crossed.
Real Madrid, out of nowhere, looked fresher as the 90 minutes (plus injury time) came to a close.
Valverde tries one from downtown and draws another fine stop from Mamardashvili! Just as well he didn't stay in the dressing room.
Valencia all of a sudden look tired....
They couldn't, could they?
A huge save from the man with the huge name!
It looks for all the world as if Vinícius is about to win the game for Real Madrid after the balls ricochets to him in the box but Mamardashvili rushes out to block the Brazilian's prod goalwards.
A vital headed clearance from Rüdiger! Pérez has the chance to take Carvajal on one against one for the first time, beats his man and floats one up towards Cavani but the German heads powerfully away.
Superb defending from Correia as Mendy looks to make progress down the left. The Valencia full-back gets his body between his opponent and the ball and stops the attack by winning a free-kick.
No way through
This feels like an awfully long time ago now. The goalkeepers could have stayed in the dressing room at half-time.
Seven minutes of added time to be played.
Has somebody told Benzema he needs to showboat every time he gets the ball? He's not had it much but definitely looks in the mood.
Maybe Madrid should try to get it to him a bit more...
Within seconds of typing that, the Frenchman has a sight of goal! Valverde charges down the right and curls the ball into the box but Benzema's header sails over the bar.
We've really not seen too much of Benzema in this second half either, but for one or two silky touches. They've looked superb but ultimately have led to nothing.
As often seems to happen now that teams can make so many substitutions, the changes have disrupted the flow of the game. Which, strange as it sounds, has suited Real Madrid. It's a bit of a stalemate at the moment.
Rodrygo has been very quiet and his replaced by Marco Asensio. You definitely wouldn't put it past the former Mallorca man to do something special off the bench...
There's been very, very little goalmouth action in this second half. Not a single save for Courtois or Mamardashvili (who I've hardly had to cut and paste at all).
Fran Pérez comes on for Samuel Lino for Valencia.
Real Madrid might be happy with that, Lino has been a threat.
A flurry of enthusiastic challenges, shall we say, as Valverde and then Carvajal launch themselves into tackles, as does Correia. Real Madrid could do with a bit more of that, they've been very flat.
Almeida has played really well in the Valencia midfield but he took a big risk on the ball and Kroos came within inches of nicking it away from him (legally). They just need to be a little careful.
I didn't really see this coming but Militão is going off. He blocked a shot from Kluivert with his face a few minutes ago and appears to still be a bit dazed. Mendy comes on at left-back, which means Nacho will move into central defence.
And that was Kluivert's last involvement. Former Real Madrid loanee Hugo Duro comes on in his place.
Did I see what I thought I just saw?
Modric's square pass very nearly puts Kluivert through on the Real Madrid goal...a poor touch from the ex-Roma attacker let the Croat off the hook.
Gattuso's men have been really good at counter-pressing to win the ball back. A perfect example there from Lato and another good spell of possession for Valencia.
Valencia playing a fairly risky game in playing out from the back but they've done it quite well when they've had to.
Vázquez wanted to carry on but the decision has been taken out of his hands. Carvajal on at right-back.
Rüdiger comes across to intercept this time as Lino looks to break through on Courtois' goal. Nothing doing there.
It looks as if Lucas Vázquez won't be able to carry on here. A fairly innocuous incident with Kluivert and he's down. Looks like an ankle issue.
Valencia fans, I really don't want to poop your party or kill your joy but you're going to have to score again when you're having a good spell.
This is Real Madrid. They will punish you if you don't. Mark my words.
Militão has been a rock at the back for Madrid. Lino tries to feed one through for Cavani and again it's the Brazilian who reads it and removes the danger.
He played Benzema in for the penalty too.
Real Madrid are not offering an awful lot right now. I gave Camavinga a little dig for not being involved before being taken off but Modric really hasn't been in the game either in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
A flashback to the start of the game, as Musah tries to get Kluivert in behind Militão, who's having none of that and easily comes out on top with a head-start.
Nacho against Lato is such a strange - but surprisingly key - battle on the Real Madrid left/Valencia right.
A left-back who never uses his left foot against a right winger who never uses his right foot.
Lato has been a threat in attack so far, despite playing out of position.
A crucial block from Militão! Musah gets in behind Nacho on the Valencia right and has men over. He spots Kluivert on the edge of the box and the Dutchman's strike is goalbound until the defender gets his big head in the way.
So close (or should that be Kroos). The German sticks the corner into the danger area and Nacho's header drifts just wide of the far post in slow motion!
Real Madrid showing what Real Madrid are all about. Out of nowhere, Benzema picks the ball up deep and within two passes he's in the box and bearing down on goal. He's forced wide and wins a corner...
Valencia looking comfortable in possession. They've had most of the ball since the goal and haven't found it too difficult to win it back when Real Madrid have had it, despite Modric's presence.
Just what the game needed! That's set this second half up be-au-ti-fully!
What a start to the second half! Straight after kick-off, Lato curls a free-kick into the box from the right flank and it drops perfectly for Lino at the back post, who guides it past Courtois!
Modric has come on for Camavinga, who did next to nothing in the first half.
Not good news for Valencia...
Valencia are out early for the second half, Real Madrid making them wait.
What have Gattuso's men got up their sleeves to get back into this?
Benzema big in Riyadh
This is an interesting show of affection for Karim Benzema.
Do they have one with a number 1 for if Courtois saves a penalty?
Karim Benzema's penalty gives Real Madrid the lead against Valencia
If you were to Google 'ice cool', the first hit you'd get would be a clip of Karim Benzema's penalty.
I'm pretty sure he started celebrating before it crossed the line.
Half-time: Real Madrid 1-0 Valencia
Karim Benzema's penalty gives Real Madrid the lead at the break but they've definitely not had things all their own way.
After a fairly even start, Real Madrid were first to crank up the pressure, with Rodrygo, Benzema and Valverde all shooting just wide in quick succession. Valencia's high defensive line looked as if it was going to cause them problems but their pressure on the ball began to pay off and they grew into the game after 20 minutes or so.
Lino's movement has proved difficult to pick up and both he and Kluivert have linked up well with Cavani, who has tested Courtois on a couple of occasions.
But just when it looked as if Rino Gattuso's men looked the most likely to score, Real Madrid did what they've done so, so, so, so many times - score when they're not at their best. Remember that high defensive line? Benzema exploited it and was felled in the box by the desperate Cömert, the Frenchman converting from the spot himself.
They were oh-so-close to being level!
That was a brilliantly worked free-kick, which ends with Kluivert squaring for Cavani, who instinctively fires it goalwards and Courtois somehow manages to keep it out without knowing all that much about it.
Valverde lunges in on Lino and Valencia have a free-kick in a dangerous position. Can they get back on level terms before half-time?
Good pressure again from Valencia to force Real Madrid into surrendering possession. They'll feel aggrieved to be behind.
Cömert was booked for his troubles there too.
I mentioned before that Valencia had been leaving space in behind their defence and Benzema well-and-truly exploited it there. A simple ball over the top from Militão and Benzema gets to it ahead of Cömert, who's the wrong side but tries to dangle a leg at it, only to clip the striker (a little bit, not a lot).
Penalty for Real Madrid!
Benzemabundled over by Cömert!
Oooft, that wasn't exactly a Ballon d'Or-class volley from Benzema there. The Frenchman shanked it horribly after it sat up for him on the angle of the box.
Can they take it off players?
There's definitely something in this game for Valencia if it carries on this way (watch Real Madrid score within a minute).
Kluivert chops away at Vázquez and isnext in the book.
Vinícius has taken almost half-an-hour to warm up but suddenly he looks red hot! He burns past right-back Correia, who looks desperate to hack him down but resists, only for the Cape Verdean to get just enough on the ball to send it out for a corner as the Brazilian strikes it goalwards.
Kluivert is growing into this game and breaks into the box down the left. But instead of pick out the unmarked Lato in the middle, he shoots and it's blocked. Lato not impressed.
A chance missed.
First yellow of the game comes for Camavinga. Foot up on Lato. No complaints.
Rodrygo just wide!
Real Madrid's Brazilian striker Rodrygo fired one just wide but Valencia have come right back into the game.
Valencia still knocking on the door and that one could've gone anywhere! The dangerous Lino wins a free-kick out wide, Kluivert sticks it into the box and it goes just wide off Militão.
This is a good spell for Valencia! Lino is drifting infield and proving difficult to pick up, he lays it off for Almeida, whose strike is deflected just wide of the post.
And another chance for Valencia! Lato's got to do better there!
Valencia work it well from left to right and Lato is the spare man at the far post. As Courtois comes out to close him down, Lato tries to go round him, overruns it a bit and throws himself to the ground pretty pathetically when he realises he's lost control of the ball.
Valencia attempt to hit back! Gayà curls a lovely ball into the penalty area from deep and guess who's on the end of it? That's right, it's Edinson Cavani, who gets a good connection on his header but can't beat Courtois.
Kluivert just doesn't look like he fancies it against Militão so far. They're not directly up against each other but that's three times already that the Brazilian has easily taken the ball off the winger.
And just moments later, Valverde powers a low drive just wide from the edge of the box!
Real Madrid stepping things up.
What a goal that would've been! The Frenchman picks up the ball just outside the box on the left-hand side, whips out every trick in his book - double shuffle, stepover, nutmeg - and shoots just wide of Mamardashvili's goal!
That was special.
Valencia aren't in this just to defend, they're pushing quite high up the park. Although it looks as if there's going to be plenty of space behind their defence, which is a dangerous game to play against Vinícius and Rodrygo (as we've seen already).
The first good chance of the game!
Valverde slides a lovely ball between full-back and centre-back and Rodrygo is onto it. His legs as going like the clappers as it hares into the Valencia box but the angle is tight and he fires over.
A first chance for Lino to get the ball into the Real Madrid box. Cavani is sniffing around, as ever, but there's no chance of him getting on the end of that cross.
That's one of the weirdest 'passes' I've ever seen from Rüdiger. Lots of space in behind the Valencia defence and it looked to me as if the German had spotted a pass but he launched it forward under absolutely no pressure to absolutely nobody.
A nice ball down the link for Kluivert from Gayà but Militão sweeps across and body checks the Dutchman into next week. No foul though.
Lucas Vázquez forward for the first time and he wins a corner off Gayà. Kroos hangs the ball up high and Militâo heads just over! It never looked like going in though.
Benzema dropping as deep as I think I've ever seen him drop there to get on the ball. That was the signal for Valverde to bomb forward and there was space for him to move into but the Frenchman's pass was a little bit underhit and that killed the attack.
And, yes, you could've bet your house on me having 'Mamardashvili' ready to copy and paste.
Very nearly a late Christmas/Reyes gift from Cenk in the opening seconds for Benzema! His backpass had just enough pace on it to run through to Mamardashvili.
Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls. We have lift off!
They teams are on the pitch, we're almost good to go!
Who've you got?
The biggest trophy in world soccer?
Not sure Karim Benzema or Jose Gayá will manage to lift this one on their own, will they?
(that's not the real one...)
Not exactly a full house with just a few minutes to go until kickoff...
Valencia line-up to take on Real Madrid
And we can't have the Real Madrid line-up without the Valencia one, can we?
Here we go!
- 15Cenk Özkacar
- 24Eray Cömert
- 2Thierry Correia
- 4Yunus Musah
- 18Andre Almeida
- 16Samuel Lino
- 9Justin Kluivert
Real Madrid line-up to face Valencia
Under 10 minutes to go! Here's a little reminder of the Real Madrid side picked by Carlo Ancelotti.
- 17Lucas Vázquez
- 3Eder Militao
- 15Federico Valverde
- 20Vinicius Junior
Well, if this headline doesn't reel you into this article, I really don't know what will.
An interesting subplot in today's game is that Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti managed Valencia coach Rino Gattuso for eight years at Milan. Carletto was in charge at San Siro between 2001 and 2009, with Gattuso there both when he arrived and left.
"That Gattuso was essential within the Albero di Natale (the Christmas Tree), the 4-3-2-1 system that the Italian designed to make Milan such a powerful team. He played 323 games under Ancelotti, the second most used footballer behind only Pirlo (327). Together, they won a total of 11 titles."
Things between the two, unfortunately, turned sour more recently; let's see how they get on today.
Here's more from Carlos.
How many times have Valencia won the Spanish Super Cup?
Valencia have won the Spanish Super Cup just once - in 1999.
On that occasion, they qualified as Copa del Rey winners and defeated Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate. A 1-0 win at Mestalla, thanks to a goal from Claudio López, was followed by a 3-3 thriller at Camp Nou, a game in which they came from a goal down on three occasions.
How many times have Real Madrid won the Spanish Super Cup?
Real Madrid have won the Spanish Super Cup on 12 occasions, the last of which came this time last year, when they defeated Athletic Club in the final.
Only arch-rivals Barcelona, with 13 victories, have won it more often.
Valencia – the glory days
Remember Valencia’s most recent ‘glory days’? If not, I don’t blame you as they were around 20 years ago now.
Rafa Benitez led the club to two of their six LaLiga titles in 2002 and 2004, back in the day when clubs other than Real Madrid and Barcelona had a realistic shot at winning the title (Atlético Madrid too, I know, but they’re not in great shape right now). The former Liverpool boss also won a UEFA Cup in 2004, which went some way to making up for defeats in Champions League finals in 2000 (under Héctor Cúper) and 2002.
Santi Cañizares, Roberto Ayala, Gaizka Mendieta, Kily González, Vicente, Miguel Ángel Angulo, Rubén Baraja, Pablo Aimar, Claudio López. The names rolled off the tongue. Top put it simply, Valencia were one of the best teams in Europe.
Valencia – the 2022-23 season so far
As has been the case far too often in recent years, Valencia are nowhere near where they’d like to be in the LaLiga table as things stand. Rino Gattuso’s side sit in the bottom half (11th) with 19 points from 16 matches and alarmingly enough are just four points above the relegation zone. And the way things have been going, they’re more likely to slide down than rise up.
Valencia have won only one of their last eight league fixtures, suffering disappointing home defeats to Real Mallorca and strugglers Cádiz, this past weekend, along the way, as well as a derby loss to Villarreal. A 3-0 Copa del Rey victory against La Nucia is their only win since 10 November.
At least they have an easy game today to try to turn things around.
Real Madrid vs Valencia: the stage is set
The sneakiest of sneak peaks at the stadium from the Real Madrid media team here.
You could play snooker on that pitch, it looks immaculate.
Real Madrid line-up to face Valencia
Real Madrid went super early with their starting line-up so you might have missed it a little earlier. Here it is once again.
See if you can spot the Croatian-with-shaggy-hair-outside-of-the-boot-maestro-related omission.
Courtois: Vázquez, Militão, Rudiger, Nacho; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinícius.
Valencia banter bus has arrived to face Real Madrid!
Valencia have arrived at the ground and, as you can see, camaraderie is alive and well (did any of them say a single word to anyone else? They'll just be 'focued' on the game, I suppose)!
Los Blancos in white
Real Madrid set to shock the world by turning out in white, I can reveal.
Aside from the big names, both forgotten men Jesús Vallejo and Álvaro Odriozola are in the matchday squad. They both saw game time last week in the Copa del Rey. It couldn't happen again, could it...?
Valencia line-up to play Real Madrid!
Mamardashvili; Correia, Cömert, Cenk, Gayá; Musah, Almedia, Lato; Lino, Cavani, Kluivert.
On-loan Barcelona midfielder Nico Gonázlez is the only player missing through injury for Rino Gattuso's men.
Real Madrid – the 2022-23 season so far
It's been a funny season for Real Madrid. At the start of the LaLiga campaign, it looked as if they might run away with it, especially after a convincing Clásico win over Barcelona in mid-October. With Barça seemingly swaying from one crisis to another, the stability and consistency of Madrid would surely prevail. Not quite...
As they say in Spanish, this season has gone from más (more) to menos (less).
One point from two games against Girona and Rayo Vallecano in late-November/early-December meantLos Blancos headed into the World Cup break two points behind their arch-rivals at the top of the table and they now find themselves three points behind after another defeat to Villarreal at the weekend.
Similarly, Carlo Ancelotti's men started their Champions League in fine form with three straight wins but performances dropped off with qualification for the round of 16 all but assured (which it eventually was).
Can they use the Spanish Super Cup to kick-start their campaign?
When is the other semi-final in the Spanish Super Cup 2023 being played?
The other semi-final sees Real Betis take on Barcelona tomorrow (Thursday, 12 January), kick-off also at 2pm ET
The winners of the two semi-finals will meet in the final on Sunday, 15 January 2023, kick-off at 2pm ET in that one too.
We will, of course, be bringing you live coverage of both of those games right here on AS USA. You won’t miss a beat!
What is the format of the Spanish Super Cup 2023?
Between 1983 and 2017, the Spanish Super Cup was a two-legged finalbetween the winners of LaLiga and the Copa del Rey during the previous season. There were a few exceptions, with no finals held in 1986 or 1987, while in Athletic Club and Real Madrid were automatically presented with the trophy in 1984 and 1989 respectively having won both competitions. In subsequent years, the Copa del Rey runners-up played in the Spanish Super Cup if any ream did the league and cup double.
After a one-legged final between league and cup winner in 2018, the current format was introduced in time for the 2019-20 tournament. Two semi-finals will be followed the final. There will be no third-place playoff.
Valencia on their way to King Fahd!
Valencia are on their way to the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh. It's safe to say that they're the underdogs for this one...can they cause an upset though?
Why is the Spanish Super Cup taking place in Saudi Arabia?
I've made a couple of references to Riyadh and Saudi Arabia already and many of you will be aware that this game - and indeed the tournament - is being played there. But just in case you are wondering why:
For the third year out of four, the Spanish Super Cup will be held in Saudi Arabia. As was the case last year, when Real Madrid won the trophy, every match in the tournament will be played at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh.
In June 2021, the Spanish Federation agreed a deal worth a reported $120 million to have Saudi Arabia host the tournament until 2029. The move drew criticism from almost all quarters, with Amnesty International scathing of the federation’s “collaboration in this ‘whitewashing’ of the image of the Saudi Arabia”, where it said there had been very little improvement in the “the systematic abuse of homosexuals and continued discrimination against women.”
Speaking in 2019, when the first ‘Saudi Arabia Spanish Super Cup’ took place, LaLiga President Javier Tebas was also unhappy, “not only for human rights” but also because “they’ve been pirating Spanish and European football for two years through a paid television backed by the Saudi Arabian government.” Athletic Club midfielder Raúl García, who played in the tournament in 2021 and 2022, said Spanish fans had been “forgotten”.
Rino Gattuso's birthday celebrations
No news on the Valencia line-up yet so here's a video of the Valencia players and staff celebrating manager Rino Gattuso's birthday after they arrived in Riyadh on Monday. That was an awkward speech.
The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that neitherAurélien Tchouaméni nor David Alaba are in the Real Madrid starting line-up for on the bench. Well, there's a good reason for that - they're both back at home in Madrid.
Here's Joe with more on what's up with the pair.
Real Madrid starting line-up
As almost always seems to be the case, Real Madrid have gone unbelievably early with their starting line-up!
Courtois: Vázquez, Militão, Rudiger, Nacho; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinícius.
Only a place on the bench for Luka Modric. Ojo.
Before we get down to serious business, it’s occurred to me that you might be looking for a way to watch the game. Well, if you’re in the US, you’re in luck! There is a way and here it is!
What time does Real Madrid vs Valencia kick off?
Wednesday’s clash gets underway at 10pm local time in Riyadh, which is 2pm ET and 11am PT. That means we’ve got close to two whole hours to enjoy build-up, team news and tales of the days when Valencia were (just about) better than Real Madrid.
Hello and welcome to Real Madrid vs Valencia!
Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to you, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for joining me (Roddy) as the Spanish Super Cup 2023 gets underway in…Saudi Arabia.
We’re only in the second week of January and we’ve already got the first trophy of the year to play for in Spanish soccer. Last season’s LaLiga winners Real Madrid are first up against Copa del Rey runners-up (not sure how ‘super’ that that actually makes you but there you go…) Valencia.