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Barca, Real clash in Super Cup curtain raiser

The new Spanish football season gets up and running on Sunday evening as Copa del Rey holders Barcelona and La Liga champions Real Madrid meet in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana.

For the first time in five years the El Clasico rivals face off in the curtain-raising fixture, with both aiming to claim first blood ahead of what should be another entertaining season.

After falling short in La Liga and the Champions League last time out, victory over Alaves in the domestic cup final to see out the season was barely enough to salvage the Catalan giants’ underwhelming campaign.

It did at least give boss Luis Enrique a chance to bow out with a smile, lifting a ninth major honour in his three years at the helm, but there was certainly a sense that a change of direction was required at Camp Nou. For all the accusations of Zinedine Zidane simply being in the right place at the right time, the Frenchman – equally as successful during his playing days – achieved something at the Bernabeu last term that no other man has managed since 1958.

It had been almost 60 years since Los Blancos last reigned supreme in both Spain and Europe, withstanding the pressure to hold off Barcelona in La Liga and eventually crushing Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final to become the first side to retain the trophy in its current guise.

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