Barcelona begin life without Neymar and other talking points ahead of Super Cup clash with Real Madrid

Real Madrid and Barcelona face off in the first Clasico of the season in Sunday's Spanish Super Cup

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
12th August 2017

article:12th August 2017

La Liga champions Real Madrid and Copa del Rey winners Barcelona go head to head in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana at the Nou Camp on Sunday.

Here are three talking points ahead of the match.


BARCELONA BEGIN LIFE WITHOUT NEYMAR…

Following the shock departure of Brazil forward Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in a new world-record move worth €222million, it will no longer be the ‘MSN’ trio leading the Barcelona line.

The Nou Camp faithful may soon have another hero to line up alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, as the club pursue a replacement, but it will be familiar faces lining up against their arch rivals. For now, though, at least they have Gerard Deulofeu back in the fold, and he may have a big chance to impress.

… AND START THE ERNESTO VALVERDE ERA

Losing a key man just days before the new season was probably not what former Athletic Bilbao boss Valverde had in mind when he took over from Luis Enrique. Nevertheless, the former Barcelona forward will be expected not only to deal with it, but also to deliver a side capable of wrestling the La Liga crown back from Madrid.

Starting at the back is always a good way to build, and the summer acquisition of Portugal international Nelson Semedo was certainly a solid choice.

While Valverde may have more to work with in time for Barcelona’s league opener against Real Betis on August 20, any honeymoon period will be short-lived should his team fail to deliver consistent results at home and in Europe.

WHAT NEXT FOR ZIDANE?

After riding out criticism when he was parachuted into the Bernabeu hot seat, Zinedine Zidane’s coaching stock has never been higher.

The French World Cup winner has moulded a side who were ruthless last season both in denying Barcelona in La Liga and as star man Cristiano Ronaldo drove Los Blancos towards Champions League glory.

Having only lost five games over the course of that campaign, Zidane’s work ethic will mean he wants to at least match those achievements.

But defending both trophies will prove no easy task, perhaps especially so after the departures of Danilo, Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez. There is, of course, still time for Real to land yet another Galactico before the transfer window closes.

Provided by Press Association Sport


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