Barcelona seek Spanish Super Cup tonic to Neymar hangover

Doug Mendoza
August 12, 2017

FC Barcelona to entertain Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup on Sunday night in what will be the first real indication of the relative strengths of the two major favourites for the La Liga title in the 2017-18 football season a week before that competition kicks off.

Two days back, Spanish source Diario Gol claimed that the La Roja player is considering his future because he wants to get more game time next season and the likes of Liverpool, Juventus and Arsenal have submitted offers for him as well. He missed his club's preseason tour, including a friendly against Barcelona in Miami that the Catalan club won 3-2.

Valverde's men completed a ideal pre-season on the field with a fourth straight win by sweeping aside Chapecoense 5-0 on Monday in a match to raise funds for the stricken Brazilian club who lost 19 players and 24 club officials in a plane crash past year. Your best bet is to check who is showing the game in your country, and if they have an online service or iOS/Android app to watch it on.

Isco did not start and finish a La Liga game for Real Madrid until the middle of October, and when that did occur, he came up with a brace in a 6-1 win at Real Betis.

Gerard Deulofeu was handed Neymar's role alongside Messi and Luis Suarez up front against Chapecoense on his return to the club after spells at Everton and AC Milan.

The Catalan giants take on their rivals in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday night
The Catalan giants take on their rivals in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday night

"It is always a pleasure to play here and even more so with these players", said Deulofeu.

Meanwhileěî Barcelona mainstay Andres Iniesta was absent after he was given permission to miss training by former Athletic Bilbao manager Valverde.

Zinedine Zidane said he is happy to sign a new contract at Real Madrid but admitted he knows only results on the pitch will guarantee he actually sees it out.

Deulofeu looked sharp in Monday's Gamper Trophy and his pace can trouble Madrid, while the rest of the Barca side will be virtually unchanged from last season.

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