Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – 10 January 2024: Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone says the Spanish Super Cup semi-final derby versus Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia will be different to their 3-1 La Liga triumph in September – but he still intends to win.
The 40th edition of the historic Supercopa de España (Spanish Super Cup) takes place at Al Nassr’s Al Awwal Park in Riyadh from January 10 – 14. Atletico Madrid face city rivals Real in the first semi-final of the four-team competition on Wednesday, before Barcelona play CA Osasuna the following night. The final takes places on Sunday, with all matches kicking off at 10pm Saudi Arabian time.
Atletico achieved a memorable victory over Real earlier this season thanks to an Alvaro Morata double and Antonine Griezmann goal, and the Spanish Super Cup semi-final marks the first match between the two clubs since Simeone’s side triumphed. The Madrid sides have also been drawn together in the Copa del Rey Round of 16, with that match to be played next week.
However, speaking at the Spanish Super Cup 2024 pre-tournament press conference, Simeone said: “The league is different from the cup and the Super Cup; all tournaments are different and have their unique circumstances. We play consistently well and are aware that we are playing against a great club like Real Madrid.
“In previous matches, we didn’t have some players – they did not participate in the past matches. This will be a different match and differs from a league match.
“I have the utmost respect for all clubs, and we are here today to compete for the win.”
Simeone was joined at the press conference in Riyadh by his midfielder, and fellow Argentine, Rodrigo De Paul, who believes mental strength will be vital in Atletico Madrid’s quest to earn another victory over Real Madrid.
De Paul said: “These matches always have significant importance on the mental side, and one must be well prepared for them. But for us, personally, we enjoy these matches and perform well.
“We are always happy to play in front of our fans and on our home ground, but when we play away, we must perform and play as usual. We are aware and knowledgeable about the level we must present in Wednesday’s match.
“We have no problem playing multiple matches against Real Madrid – as I mentioned, these matches require high mental and physical preparation.”
Simeone added of De Paul: “Rodrigo is an outstanding player and makes a difference in matches and plays in an important position, always proving himself in matches. He is considered a player who grows and develops well, and he has proven that in previous matches.”
Saudi Arabia is welcoming world-class players, iconic clubs, and international fans as part of its long-term partnership with the Royal Spanish Football Federation. The previous three editions of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia saw tens of thousands of fans in attendance with matches broadcasted all around the world. Like always, this year the Spanish Super Cup is being contested by the winners and runners-up of the Copa del Rey and La Liga.
With an exciting tournament in store for fans, this year’s Spanish Super Cup is the latest illustration of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to host the very best international events across all sports, with football at the forefront.
Over 2.6 million individuals under 30 are actively engaged in football, a number that continues to expand. The passion of Saudi people and the young population is the driving force behind the Kingdom bringing such prestigious tournaments.
While enabling the Kingdom to build relationships and showcase the unique football culture to the world, hosting events like these provides new opportunities for the Saudi people to be inspired, pursue dreams, and realise potential.
The Spanish Super Cup kick-starts an incredible year-round schedule of international sports in the Kingdom, with football, motorsport, tennis, esports, combat sports, golf, and equestrian events all locked in for 2024.