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Barcelona beat Real Madrid to give Xavi his first trophy

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By Martin Graham | 17th Jan 2023

Three goals from Barcelona were enough to see Barcelona win its first trophy under Xavi Hernandez. Gavi, Pedri and Lewandowski all scored in a match that felt like a Sunday morning game at the park.

Perhaps the heavy spending of Barcelona is beginning to yield dividends. La Blaugrana spent heavily in the summer as they sought to revive the ailing club bogged by debts and lack of direction. On a cold evening in Saudi Arabia, Xavi Hernandez led his troops to win the first trophy under his reign.

The Catalan giants were well worth their money as they strolled to a win in a game that holds as much value as the Charity Shield, except that it puts more money in the pockets of both teams and Gerard Pique. Real Madrid thus relinquished the trophy they won last year to Barcelona.

The four-team tournament brings glitz and glamour but is just an avenue to make more money for Spanish sides. As on past occasions, the team that emerged Supercopa de España winners is a side that finished the previous season trophyless. Barcelona did not win any trophy last season, but like champions before them, have usurped the legitimate challengers for the Supercopa de España.

Xavi wins his first trophy as Barcelona manager

Like a team seemingly tired of winning, drunk on its success, Real Madrid were not at the party in Saudi Arabia. It was a game that Barcelona was more determined to win. They put in everything to ensure victory, while Real Madrid elected to hand it to them on a platter. Undoubtedly, the Catalans were worthy winners on the night.

Barcelona went into the break two goals up, with Gavi and Lewandowski getting on the score chart. The teenager scored the first goal in the 33rd minute. The goal by Gavi did not elicit a reaction from Los Blancos, who were without a natural defensive midfielder. Late into the first half Robert Lewandowski got the second of the game to send Barcelona fans to the moon.

If one expected Real Madrid to come out firing in the second half, the European champions played like they could not wait to leave the stadium. Pedri then scored the third goal in the 69th minute. Karim Benzema put some respectability in the scores as he pulled one back for Los Merengues inside added time.

What it portends for Xavi and Barcelona

While it is good news for Barcelona and Xavi, the club is still not out of the woods yet. Under Xavi, the Catalan giants have dropped out of the pantheon of champions. They failed to make it out of the Champions League group stage for two seasons. They will need to do more than win the Super Cup to convince anybody they are back.

Even in their worst state, Barcelona is usually pumped up when they play against Real Madrid, so the victory in Saudi Arabia is not a surprise. With the win, Barcelona will now look to the remaining three competitions. They are still involved in the La Liga Santander, Copa del Rey and the Europa League.

The test of Xavi is not winning a glorified competition as the Supercopa de España. The top competitions will be the yardstick for measuring his achievements. He has to win the Europa League to prove his financially boosted squad is on the level of Europe’s best.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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