Super Cup sort of opens spanking new Spanish season

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Woot! Woot! It’s Spanish Super Cup time! It’s 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. Thursday’s clash is not actually the curtain raiser to the new season in La Liga, rather a two-o’clock-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 season’s Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao one day before Spain’s first pre-Euro 2012 friendly, the Spanish FA have put this double-headed battle after the season’s already started. Although in their defence, they weren’t helped by the league starting a good fortnight earlier than usual.

Indeed, even Thursday wasn’t 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 Clásico 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 José 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 season’s stormy affair.

For Mourinho, it’s 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 that’s OK with everyone else, that is. “If I could I’d sign up for losing the Super Cup and losing the league,” declared Mourinho on Wednesday. “It’s the least important competition of the four that we are playing in.

In Vilanova’s footballing badminton court, a bad result over the two games could undue some of the confidence building good work done in Barça’s 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 club’s post Pep world. However, ‘Pito’, as Mourinho called him in the competition last year, won’t have any such defeatist nonsense declaring that a “title is a title.”

That’s particularly true when these two teams are involved and bragging rights are up for grabs.