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A Saudi Arabian dream come true: Real Madrid vs Barcelona in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia have been desperate to host one of the most famous football rivalries in the world and they will see their dream come true on Wednesday night when Barcelona and Real Madrid face each in the first Supercopa de Espana semi-final.

The most simple solution to stage El Clasico would have been to set up a friendly match between the two sides, but Saudi Arabia wanted to increase the stakes.

A three-year wait

Saudi Arabia agreed a three-year deal to host the Supercopa de Espana from 2020 to 2022. The first edition had the potential of a Clasico final, but Barcelona were knocked out by Atletico Madrid in their semi-final.

Real Madrid’s second place in last season’s LaLiga Santander and Barcelona’s Copa del Rey victory set up the prospect of a clash between Spain’s two biggest football clubs at the King Fadh International Stadium.

The decline of Barcelona over the last 18 months means there is more pressure on the Blaugrana to beat Real Madrid. Coach Xavi Hernandez faces a big task to prove he can move Barcelona back in the right direction.

Atletico Madrid and Athletic Club will meet in the other Supercopa de Espana semi-final on Thursday, with the final taking place on Sunday.

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