Carlo Ancelotti: ‘You have to be prepared to do many things’
Real Madrid will be looking to win the trophy against Athletic at the King Fahd Stadium.
Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao: Line-ups
Real Set for Silverware
Los Blancos are the second most successful team in the history of this competition, lifting the trophy on 11 occasions, the last of which was in 2020, but they lost to Athletic in the semi-finals of last year’s tournament. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have now been victorious in their last three games across three separate competitions, beating Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey and Valencia in the league.
Real Madrid are currently the team to catch in Spain’s top flight, picking up 49 points from their opening 21 matches to sit first in the table, five points clear of second-placed Sevilla in what looks to be a two-team title race in the final months of the campaign. The capital outfit have already beaten Athletic twice this season, winning both league matches between the two teams in December, while they have not lost to the Basque outfit in the league since March 2015, but as mentioned, the Lions were victorious in the Spanish Super Cup last term.
Athletic have won the Spanish Super Cup on three previous occasions and are the holders of the trophy, having beaten Barcelona 3-2 in the final of the 2021 competition. The Basque outfit were trailing 1-0 to Atletico entering the final 15 minutes of Thursday’s semi-final, but Yeray Alvarez levelled the scores in the 77th minute before Nico Williams netted the winner in the 81st minute.
Athletic have now been victorious in three of their last four matches in all competitions, including a 2-0 success over Mancha Real in the Copa del Rey earlier this month, but they played out a 0-0 draw with Alaves in their last league match on January 9.
Marcelino’s side will be back in Copa del Rey action against Barcelona on January 20, and they are currently ninth in La Liga, so it could be a hugely successful campaign for the club. The fact that the Lions did not have to play extra-time on Thursday is certainly a positive, but Real Madrid will have had an extra day to recover for this match, which has to place the capital outfit at an advantage.
Athletic are more than capable of overcoming Real Madrid on Sunday, and the holders will enter the match full of confidence following their success over Atletico. Los Blancos are the favourites, though, and we are expecting Ancelotti’s side to do just about enough within 90 minutes to secure the trophy for the 12th time.