There was no consolation in defeat for Barça in a strange game against Real Madrid, where there were more white shirts in the stands than ever and Real Madrid wore blue meaning that for the first time in their history Madrid did not wear their famous white. Just another sign that the Super Cup is a competition that has sold its soul to tourists.
In this strange atmosphere, the match felt like another pre-season kick about, a continuation of the friendly in Miami, but it was in fact a competitive game in which Barça only had one idea – give the ball to Leo Messi. There wasn’t a midfield, the ball wasn’t moved quickly, there was no pace and the team gave the impression that it is only a provisional one, not what it was and not yet what the manager wants.
Barça missed Neymar and years of dependence on the trident should not be forgotten. What we saw was a strange hybrid, because the team didn’t dominate the game nor did it have punch. A sign that the new manager only has one superstar to build a new team around, and quickly.
A disorientated Barça clung desperately to Messi as their only hope but such a basic plan was never going to enough against a much better Madrid, who look a solid, organised and mature team. Nobody can criticise Barça’s attitude but you need more to beat Zidane’s Madrid.
As usually happens with defeats like this. There were players who had a difficult night: Aleix Vidal, Deulofeu, Piqué and Rakitic included. And I don’t understand why Sergi Roberto is back on the bench. But this Barça team is an August team, in transition and half-done. Coutinho and Dembélé should arrive and they still have a lot of cards to play. There’s a lot left to play for.