18 months; to supporters of most clubs, that’s a very acceptable period of time to wait between lifting trophies.
For Real Madrid, however, 18 long months is a horrifying amount of time to not be crowned champions of some sort of competition – as Steve McManaman noted on BT Sport’s commentary of the game:
“When there’s silverware up for grabs, you’re just expected to win it when you wear that white kit of Real Madrid.”
But it’s how long Los Blancos had to wait between lifting the La Liga title in July 2020 and finally getting their hands on a piece of silverware again by beating Athletic Club 2-0 in Sunday night’s Supercopa final.
As predicted, it was a fairly turgid affair with a dominant Blancos slowly wearing their opposition down to the point of submission, before a resurgence from a trailing Bilbao almost paid off. As it turned out, however, Real were simply too good – as they have been for the majority of the 2021/22 season.
It took a sensational finish from Luka Modric, a thumping Karim Benzema penalty – both seven minutes either side of half time – and Thibaut Courtois’ brilliant late penalty save to seal the 2-0 Supercopa triumph.
Real’s 12th Supercopa title puts an end to a baron spell that they’ll all too willingly forget. The necropolis that was the 2020/21 campaign represented the club’s first trophy-less season for 11 years, but times have changed and Carlo Ancelotti’s vibrant side resembles the Real of old – the Real that struck fear into the whole of Europe.
They were sharp, composed and ruthless in all facets of the game on Sunday night. From the stoicism of Courtois and the central defensive partnership of Eder Militao (who was unfortunate to see red late on) and David Alaba, to the sheer class of the esteemed midfield trio, and from electric wing play to the world-class central domination of Benzema, Real were never going to pass up the opportunity of winning the Supercopa.
With one trophy under their belt already, Los Blancos have the perfect platform upon which to build this term. Having beaten eight of the other nine that currently occupy La Liga’s top half earlier in the season (they drew 0-0 with Villarreal), Ancelotti’s side are visibly superior to the chasing pack in Spain’s top flight.
While they only hold a five-point lead at the summit, it seems as though the La Liga crown is theirs for the taking already. And with current form in mind, there are few others able to claim to be as equipped for Champions League glory this season, too.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, however. The Copa del Rey, La Liga and Europe’s top prize are still a long way off being decided – Ancelotti will know better than anyone to take the remainder of the season game by game and see what comes of it.
But, after getting their hands on some early silverware, it’s starting to look like a return to bountiful times at the Santiago Bernabeu.