Supercopa de Espana's confirmed revamp tees up potential February Clasico in Saudi Arabia

By Sports Desk November 11, 2019

A new four-team format has been finalised for the Supercopa de Espana that will see the competition moved to Saudi Arabia for the next three years, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed.

RFEF president Luis Rubiales revealed a proposal to convert the season curtain-raiser into a mini-tournament in February this year.

Last season's Supercopa – traditionally a two-legged affair played between the winners of LaLiga and the Copa del Rey – was the first to be played abroad, as Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1 in Tangier, Morocco, with the singular match officially classed as a friendly.

But the success of the contest from the RFEF's perspective proved its viability and it is pushing ahead with the plans having struck an agreement for Saudi Arabia to play host over the next three years, starting in February 2020.

With four teams – the Copa finalists and LaLiga's top two – set to be involved, the RFEF has moved the competition to Spain's winter in order to "lighten the calendar", instead of playing it at the start of the season.

Following confirmation of the revamp on Monday, the RFEF also revealed the historic first fixtures, with Real Madrid and Barcelona facing Valencia and Atletico Madrid, respectively, in the semi-finals, teeing up a potential Clasico finale on February 12.

Copa del Rey holders Valencia were particularly vocal in their opposition of the initial plans put forward by the RFEF, while many criticised the governing body for fraternising with a country that has a questionable human rights record.

But the RFEF has called the deal an "engine for social change" and confirmed women will be allowed "unrestricted access to the matches" and the launch of a women's football competition in the region.

RFEF believe the internationalisation of the competition will improve its credibility and subsequently boost Spain's bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

Media reports have claimed the RFEF stands to bring in €40million for every season the Supercopa is hosted in Saudi Arabia. Aside from club prize money, the federation pledges to invest all its entire income from the agreement in amateur football.

Related items

  • Bale's love for Spurs will speed up return to fitness, claims Mourinho Bale's love for Spurs will speed up return to fitness, claims Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho is convinced Gareth Bale will return to fitness following a knee injury ahead of schedule because of his desire and motivation for play for a club he loves.

    Bale, 31, completed a sensational return to Tottenham from Real Madrid on a season-long loan on Saturday, having originally departed seven years ago for a then world-record fee.

    Although he enjoyed great success – including winning four Champions League titles – in Madrid, he increasingly found himself on the periphery of the first team under Zinedine Zidane over the past few years.

    A return to Spurs proved a welcome move for Bale, who developed into one of the Premier League's most devastating players prior to joining Madrid.

    The winger sustained a knee injury on international duty earlier this month, meaning he will not be in action until October at the earliest, though Mourinho suspects Bale's extra motivation will lead to an earlier-than-expected return.

    "I don't know when Gareth can be back," Mourinho said. "I only know the motivation is high because he is so happy to be with the club of his heart.

    "He's so happy to play for us, and when a player has these motivations, many times you can shorten the period of recovering, getting fit and ready to play.

    "We want to help him, so when he is available to train with the team, we are more than happy to have him and help him to be back to a level that may be one of the best players in the world."

    Confirmation of Bale's move came shortly after that of Sergio Reguilon's transfer – the Spain left-back also arriving from Madrid, having impressed on loan at Europa League winners Sevilla in 2019-20.

    Spurs are next in action against Leyton Orient in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, and while Mourinho thinks that will come too soon for Reguilon, he should be ready for the visit of Newcastle United on Sunday.

    "I think he'll be quite quick [in terms of getting up to speed physically]," Mourinho said. "He's in the last period of his recovery and is training today with one of my assistants.

    "He cannot play Tuesday but I would say that he will be available for us for the end of the week."

  • Rumour Has It: Man City still in Koulibaly talks, Wolves to sign Barca's Semedo Rumour Has It: Man City still in Koulibaly talks, Wolves to sign Barca's Semedo

    Will Manchester City finally land Kalidou Koulibaly?

    Pep Guardiola's City want defensive reinforcements and Napoli centre-back Koulibaly is reportedly at the top of the list.

    If they are unsuccessful, Sevilla's Jules Kounde is next on the list.

     

    TOP STORY – CITY NOT GIVING UP KOULIBALY

    Manchester City are still in talks with Napoli to sign star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

    City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, who has also been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

    However, City are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli and Sevilla's Jules Kounde is the "backup option" but a bid has already been turned down.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Romano says Wolves will complete the signing of Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo on Monday. It comes as Barca eye Ajax defender Sergino Dest or Real Betis' Emerson to replace Semedo. Norwich City's Max Aarons has also been linked.

    Milan have made Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic their number one defensive target ahead of Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer, reports the Daily Record.

    - Calciomercato claims Juventus are eyeing Real Madrid full-back Marcelo. The Brazilian has been repeatedly linked with a Cristiano Ronaldo reunion in Turin.

    - The Telegraph says PSG are interested in Tottenham's Dele Alli. Out of favour under Jose Mourinho, Spurs are reportedly targeting Manchester United's Jesse Lingard as a replacement.

    Roma remain interested in Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik but Madrid outcast Luka Jovic has emerged as 'Plan B', according to Calciomercato.

    Leeds United are out of the race to sign Dinamo Zagreb sensation Josko Gvardiol, reports Romano. Wanted by Marcelo Bielsa, the Croatian teenager is now set for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig.

  • Juventus not signing Barca's Suarez, insists Paratici Juventus not signing Barca's Suarez, insists Paratici

    Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed Barcelona star Luis Suarez will not be joining the Serie A champions, while insisting the club are not only eyeing Roma striker Edin Dzeko.

    Reportedly told he can leave embattled LaLiga giants Barca, veteran forward Suarez had been heavily linked with Cristiano Ronaldo's Juve following Gonzalo Higuain's move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS.

    But a delay in securing an Italian passport for the 33-year-old Uruguay international has scuppered those plans, Paratici confirmed prior to Sunday's season-opening 3-0 win over Sampdoria.

    "Suarez can be removed from that list, because the time it takes to get the passport is longer than the transfer deadline or the moment we can hand in the Champions League lists," said Paratici, whose Juve have already filled their non-European quota.

    "We evaluated the Suarez option when it was proposed to us. He was in the process of getting Italian citizenship, so we evaluated the possibility of registering him in time.

    "It is not possible, so he was never really close."

    While Suarez is off the list, Juve – led by rookie head coach Andrea Pirlo – continue to be linked with Roma's Dzeko.

    Dzeko's proposed move to Juve is reportedly tied to Roma signing Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik as a replacement in the Italian capital.

    Amid uncertainty over this future, Dzeko was an unused substitute in Roma's goalless draw at Hellas Verona on Saturday.

    "Let's say there isn't a Dzeko situation, it's a striker situation, as Juventus need a centre-forward," Paratici said as Juve reportedly try to re-sign Moise Kean from Everton. "We know what we want and are working towards that calmly, there are 15 days to go in the transfer window and we're in no rush.

    "There are other situations, not just Dzeko. We know what we want. We're working for a striker who can work with Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.

    "At this moment, we are seeking one striker, we have our objectives and will try to pursue them calmly, regardless of the names."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.