The Spanish season throws off in style on Saturday with Atlético Madrid taking on FC Barcelona in the Super Copa. Barcelona have taken the Super Cup 14 times and Madrid four (including three times as BM Cuidad Real). The boys in red and white are the current holders and they beat Barcelona in last season’s Copa del Rey – although Barcelona took the main domestic prize, the Asobal title. The bookies make Atlético very slight favourites to win both this match and the league, although it’s likely to boil down to how the two teams do in their head to head fixtures.
Atlético have had an interesting off season with both Didier Dinart and Luc Abalo heading to the newly-flush Paris but they’ve also captured the signature of Ivano Balic. Barcelona were a little quieter over the summer although it might be worth noting that 2002 World Player of the Year Arpad Šterbik joined them from Madrid although that was 10 years ago.
Obviously nobody knows what to expect in the first match of the season but my guess would be for a close game with some nice bits of niggle. The atmosphere should be good though: it’s being played in the 15,000 capacity Palacio Vistalegres. That’s the home of Atlético Madrid.