Barca has countless steps to take, which has stumbled where it has gone in recent years, but in the Super Cup final it finally stepped on the confidence and ambition it took to show. He has ascended the most difficult step: showing all his potential, with brilliance and goals, against Real Madrid, the team that measures him in Spain and in the world. The value of the tournament says very little compared to the effect that victory has produced. For the first time, we know that Barca is not a conjecture, a willful theoretical exercise that did not materialize in the team, perhaps because its real ceiling was lower than imagined.
Comparisons are made with another resounding success, his victory at the Bernabeu last season, four months after Xavi Hernandez was hired. In apparent terms, that match was much more important than the one in Riyadh. Barca climbed the table and that 0-4 set them in second position. Participation in the Champions League was ensured without problems, the unavoidable objective of a club hit by all kinds of dramas.
In April, Madrid headed unopposed to win the League and was immersed in the European Cup qualifiers, the most winding in memory. He had his head elsewhere. The defeat hurt, but it was an injury as slight as Barca’s inability to take advantage of their win was huge. He was devastated by Eintracht days later. He finished the League in discouragement and began desperately looking for money. He was not enough with that template.
The levers —short-term injection of money in exchange for long business stakes in the club’s own rights— did their job in the market and created expectations that have taken time to be confirmed, if they have been confirmed. On the other hand, it has proclaimed its true magnitude as a team. Barca played the best game of Xavi’s period against Madrid and the most brilliant in a few years, an announcer of the priceless value of his very young generation of players.
This Super Cup will take its place in the showcases, where it will go unnoticed sooner rather than later in the club’s fluffy collection of trophies. Its importance is of another nature. It is a true lever of impulse to the future. In Riyadh, speculation is over. If Barca plays badly and loses, or plays badly and wins, it won’t be because they lack phenomenal football resources and competitive capacity, it will happen because of their inability to sustain themselves at the level they reached against Real Madrid.
The next challenge for Xavi and the team will consist of his resistance to descend from that rung, unattainable for so long. Gone is the theoretical discourse, the speculations about the real quality of Barca and the debate about the coach. A team that is capable of functioning as it did in the Super Cup final only succeeds if it accredits indisputable conditions, not imaginary ones.
From now on, Barca will have to measure themselves against Barca, with the impression they left in a game that will haunt them until the end of the season and beyond. It has taken a long time to break and he does not lack issues to remedy – some of his signings do not yield even a quarter of what was supposed for their price – but he has already taken the most difficult step, that of his new credibility, reflected in such a resounding and brilliant way against Real Madrid that it would be useless to justify if he returns to mediocrity. It is the complicated game that awaits him from now on: Barca against Barca. The already accredited, not the usual theoretical.
You can follow EL PAIS Sports on Facebook Y Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
Source: EL PAIS