Two giants of Spanish football. Two teams dedicated to the heavenly arts of attack. Two clubs who have the word ‘entertain’ in the core of the DNA of the superstructure of their philosophies. Two sets of players who had people in and out of their seats with a breathtaking array of goal-getting.
Unfortunately, the poor souls who turned out for the Mallorca vs Levante friendly missed the European Super Cup final...
But instead of watching a 5-4 thriller they would have had the cockles of their winkles warmed by the sight of the visitors setting camp on the pitch with a back five and a three man-screen in front, in the football equivalent of a Mormon’s magic protective underwear.
While Barça and Sevilla were swapping free-kick blows in the first half, the highlight of the island friendly according to one despondent La Liga Loca spy was a footballer helping the man in the middle remove his line-placing spray can, which had apparently got lodged in his league-issued BatRef utility belt.
At that moment, Georgia must have been on the minds of the Spanish-based players, dreaming of Tblisi where the Champions League winners faced the Europa League winners. The Super Cup is still a little bit of an odd concept, but at least it acts as something a little more intense than a pre-season friendly.
Not a huge amount can be gleamed from a game more terrifically attacking than tactically tight – aside from the fact that Sevilla are well on their way to another Time Lord-style regeneration.
Swapping blows with Barcelona and coming back from 4-1 down to take the game into extra-time, the southerners eventually succumbed to a Pedro winner.
It had to be Pedro. He’s spent the whole summer being one of a Manchester United to-and-fro trio of transfer sagas along with David de Gea and Sergio Ramos. And until the game, the footballer had been as quiet as a mouse creeping in at four in the morning after drunkenly gambling away the family’s cheese haul. [The simile-suggested mouse, not Pedro - Legal Ed.]
But the Canary Islander could hold his silence no more after the club’s technical secretary Robert Fernández revealed before the game that Pedro had asked to leave the club and that the Super Cup clash could be his final game. When asked to back up the claims of Fernández after the 5-4 win, Pedro did a little bit of a squirm by claiming that "I've not said what Robert's said, or at least not how I said it."
Indeed, the footballer was completely peeved not to get more minutes against Sevilla, considering Neymar was out of action with the mumps. Apparently. Instead, Rafinha started, leaving Pedro on the bench until extra-time, when he grabbed the winner with just five minutes to go.
"The truth is that I had a good chance to play,” said Pedro. “The coach has decided not to count on me. I don't know, I don't know if I will continue here.”
The chances are pretty high after that outburst that Pedro will be bound for the Premier League, but not after leaving his mark on a cracker of a game that ended up acting as a curtain-raiser to the curtain-raiser of a Spanish season that kicks off on Friday with the first of a double-header between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao.
The question now for Barça is whether they will be hanging onto Pedro until a club pays his full buy-out clause (€30 million) or if the Camp Nou outfit will drop their price for a forward who has served so well.
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