Woot! Woot! ItÃ¢ÂÂs Spanish Super Cup time! ItÃ¢ÂÂs the traditional curtain raiser to the new season in Spain, a chance for Barcelona and Real Madrid to begin yet another year of bickering, animosity and occasional physical assaults.
Well, three out of four elements of that statements are true. ThursdayÃ¢ÂÂs clash is not actually the curtain raiser to the new season in La Liga, rather a two-oÃ¢ÂÂclock-in-the-afternoon, scratching-your-bum-while-peeking-through-the-curtains type affair a few days after the new campaign has already begun.
In displaying the sort of scheduling prowess that plonked last seasonÃ¢ÂÂs Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao one day before SpainÃ¢ÂÂs first pre-Euro 2012 friendly, the Spanish FA have put this double-headed battle after the seasonÃ¢ÂÂs already started. Although in their defence, they werenÃ¢ÂÂt helped by the league starting a good fortnight earlier than usual.
Indeed, even Thursday wasnÃ¢ÂÂt a great time to schedule the match - nor next Wednesday - as the kick-off times are at 22:30 local time at the Camp Nou and Santiago Bernabeu in order to avoid clashing with European fixtures taking place elsewhere in the continent. Nobody wants to feel the wrath of Michel Platini after a ClÃÂ¡sico steals the thunder of Luzern against Genk.
Rather like the Copa del Rey clashes last season, there is the sense that neither game is particular welcome by the managerial pair of the two feuding clubs. Indeed, both JosÃÂ© Mourinho and Tito Vilanova would perhaps have been disappointed by the decision of the FA to overturn their respective touchline bans for the ruckus at the end of last seasonÃ¢ÂÂs stormy affair.
For Mourinho, itÃ¢ÂÂs an unwanted distraction from a league campaign some of his players have started looking a little sluggish. Marca even claim Cristiano Ronaldo would like another 10 days to get up to speed - if thatÃ¢ÂÂs OK with everyone else, that is. Ã¢ÂÂIf I could IÃ¢ÂÂd sign up for losing the Super Cup and losing the league,Ã¢ÂÂ declared Mourinho on Wednesday. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs the least important competition of the four that we are playing in.
In VilanovaÃ¢ÂÂs footballing badminton court, a bad result over the two games could undue some of the confidence building good work done in BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs 5-1 victory over Real Sociedad, which showed that it was business as usual at the Camp Nou for at least one weekend in the clubÃ¢ÂÂs post Pep world. However, Ã¢ÂÂPitoÃ¢ÂÂ, as Mourinho called him in the competition last year, wonÃ¢ÂÂt have any such defeatist nonsense declaring that a Ã¢ÂÂtitle is a title.Ã¢ÂÂ
ThatÃ¢ÂÂs particularly true when these two teams are involved and bragging rights are up for grabs.