Coach Ernesto Valverde will get his first proper taste of the scorching rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid when the two giants of Spanish soccer meet on Sunday at the Nou Camp in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup.
Barca beat Real 3-2 in a pre-season ‘Clasico’ friendly in Miami in July but the stakes will be far higher in the Super Cup, the annual curtain raiser in Spain between the Liga champions and King’s Cup holders.
The second leg takes place on Wednesday (August 16) in Madrid.
Barca have so far failed in their efforts to spend the 222 million euros Paris St Germain paid them for Neymar, seeing bids rejected for Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele which leave the club racked with doubts before facing a supremely confident Madrid side.
With Paco Alcacer or Gerard Deulofeu as his only options to join Messi and Suarez in a front three, Valverde may stray from the 4-3-3 formation his predecessor Luis Enrique preferred in order to bolster the midfield to counter Real.
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