Real Madrid and Barcelona managers Zinedine Zidane and Ernesto Valverde are talking tough ahead of the Spanish Super Cup (Supercopa) showdown at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Barca drew first blood under new manager Ernesto Valverde when these sides met late last month in Miami. In their two meetings last season, Barcelona claimed four points, including a famous last gasp win at the Santiago Bernabéu in April.
While Ernesto Valverde who will be making his debut as a Barca coach in official competition on Sunday has vowed to give Barcelona fans a team that “reel them in” ahead of Sunday’s first leg clash, Zidane whose Real Madrid side have become serial trophy winners insists the aim is to go to Barcelona and win.
A relatively upbeat Zidane in a pre-match interview said: "It is special because it is another trophy. We know that playing against Barcelona is extra special. We are playing against our strongest rival, but for me
that does not change things. We are in perfect shape both physically and mentally. Everyone wants to play and I will have a decision to make”.
"They have made changes but Barcelona is still Barcelona. They are no weaker than the sides I used to face. We know about their playing style. If we go into it thinking it will be easy then we are sadly mistaken. We're playing two games: One in Barcelona and the other in Madrid. That is how it goes and in my opinion, I would have proffered to play just the once." Zidane told Real Madrid's website
Valverde who will be aiming to claim the Supercopa trophy for a second time as coach, having won in 2015, when his Athletic Club side defeated Barcelona said: "The friendly game we played during the tour is a reference point but that’s all. Now it’s different, there is a title at stake and they want to win it as well
"We will have to give our best to win, they will be two tough matches. We are focused on the game and whatever the talk is, we are only thinking about that.
" said Valverde on the Catalans' official websiteHistory
It’s the first time these sides have met in the Spanish Super Cup in five years. At the outset of the 2012/13 campaign, Barcelona won 3-2 at the Camp Nou but a 2-1 reverse in the away leg saw them lose out on away goals.
The season before saw another close encounter in this competition, but this time the outcome was a happier one for the Blaugrana. A 3-2 second leg win on home turf meant Barça prevailed 5-4 on aggregate.
More recently, last season’s La Liga meetings both featured late drama. At the Camp Nou in December, Sergio Ramos rescued a point for Los Blancos with an 89th minute
header, but Barcelona would have their revenge at the Bernabéu when Messi struck at the death to seal a 3-2 win.