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Ruthless Gavi helps Barcelona turn Clasico tide! Winners & losers as La Liga leaders outclass Real Madrid in Spanish Super Cup final

Gavi assisted two and scored one as Barcelona beat Real Madrid to win the Spanish Super Cup and claim the first trophy of Xavi’s reign as manager.

It was almost too easy. Antonio Rudiger gave the ball away. Pedri slipped it to Robert Lewandwoski, who then fed an unmarked Gavi. The midfielder’s finish was a calm one, threaded into the far corner for a 1-0 lead. His goal was the first of three clinical moves to lift Barca past a languid Real Madrid side, and hand Xavi his first trophy at the helm.


Barcelona had an early chance, with Lewandowski seeing his shot tipped onto the post by a fully-stretched Courtois. And it was a sign of things to come. Gavi opened the scoring, finishing a tidy move off after Rudiger’s blunder.

The two switched roles for Barca’s second, with Gavi surging forward and squaring for Lewandowski, who couldn’t miss from five yards out.

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The Blaugrana grabbed a third halfway through the second half, with Gavi involved again. He scampered down the left and found a sprinting Pedri at the back post, who was already celebrating before the ball went into the net.

But as much as the Blaugrana impressed, Madrid produced a miserable showing. Los Blancos didn’t register a big chance until the 92nd minute, when Karim Benzema lashed home off a fortunate rebound just inside the six-yard box.

His finish was a mere blemish on an otherwise dominant performance for Barca. They now have their hands on the first domestic trophy of the season, but the final result means much more than that.

Barca are not only deservedly top of the La Liga table, but their latest Clasico performance proves that a changing of the guard is now complete. Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid are no longer the best team in Spain – that title now belongs to Xavi’s ever-improving outfit.

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Winner: Xavi
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way.

It’s been 435 days since Xavi officially became manager of Barcelona, and he had previously failed to deliver a single piece of silverware. There was a Europa League exit to Frankfurt, a Copa del Rey loss to Athletic Bilbao, and another failure in this exact fixture last year. The manager even conceded a few months ago, after being knocked out of the Champions League group stage, that his job could be on the line.

This win might do a bit more than alleviate some of that pressure. The Super Cup is a strange trophy to win. It’s not a major honour, and isn’t contingent on a massive run, or series of testy knockout games. But it’s silverware, claimed in a one-off match against Barca’s biggest rivals. And that’s a start.

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Supercopa de España 2023Getty Images
Loser: Real Madrid’s midfield
The famous Real Madrid midfield trio took a hit last summer, when Casemiro departed Spain for Manchester United, with the young Aurelien Tchouameni brought in to replace him.

But with Madrid’s new no. 6 sidelined, Los Blancos were forced to rely on the old guard Sunday night, with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric tasked with handling Barca’s youthful punch. And they never really got going. Carlo Ancelotti fiddled with his formation a bit, starting with Kroos in the deeper lying role, before even entrusting Eduardo Camavinga with the spot. But regardless of the positional setup, the trio was overrun.

Modric was hardly on the ball, tallying only 37 touches in his 65 minutes on the pitch. Meanwhile, Camavinga had a night to forget, as he regularly gave away the ball to a more energetic Barcelona setup. It all amounted to a team lacking in a crucial area of the pitch.

And one man in particular benefitted…

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Winner: Gavi
The youngster hasn’t quite been at his best in recent weeks. Though he hasn’t lacked legs, Gavi’s technical quality has sometimes been missing — notably only creating one chance as Barcelona were pushed to a penalty shootout in the semi-finals against Real Betis.

But here, he showed just how good he can be. The Spanish midfielder had a role in all three of Barca’s goals, scoring the first before assisting the next two. This wasn’t a particularly flashy performance from the 18-year-old. Instead, it was a ruthlessly efficient one. He was direct, deadly, and clinical.

He created the most chances on the pitch, tracked back with regularity, and won all three of his aerial duels. All of this came while being deployed out of position. A natural attacking midfielder, Gavi was charged with playing out wide, starting on the left before cutting in during Barca’s build-up.

There’s a lot more to come from the teenager. Xavi has asserted that Gavi is better than he was at the same age. And if these kinds of mature performances continue, he might just be on that track.

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Loser: Dani Carvajal
Is everyone else fast, or Dani Carvajal just slow?

To say that the right back looks exhausted would be an understatement. He was badly exposed here, stretched by the trickery of Gavi and raw pace of Alex Balde. Although Barca’s goals were wonderfully constructed, both came down the right channel between Carvajal and Eder Militao, with the right-back failing to squeeze the gaps in Madrid’s back four.

There was one particularly painful moment, in the build-up to Barca’s second goal. Carvajal lunged into a tackle in central midfield, but was a step slow, allowing Gavi 30 yards of space to work with. He turned around to see Gavi sprinting towards goal, and could only stride hopelessly as Gavi simply set up a surging Lewandowski to give Barca a 2-0 lead.

With usual backup Lucas Vasquez out with an ankle issue, Carvajal was left off the pace in the game, mulling around as Barcelona continued to run riot.

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