They may still be missing one piece of the puzzle ahead of the new season, but Spanish champions Barcelona have rewarded their manager Luis Enrique with an important win and even more important trophy.
First Trophy of the Season
For those of you who resisted falling into your warm beds after a hard day’s work, the Spanish Super Cup second leg between Barcelona and Sevilla at Camp Nou surely was a joy to watch.
More than 70,000 people gathered around 11.00pm local time to see their beloved team collect their first trophy of the season and record twelfth Super Cup in total.
Turkish maestro Arda Turan hit the limelight with a sublime performance that was capped with a brace in a 3-0 second-leg victory over the Rojiblancos, for a comfortable 5-0 aggregate win.
Turkish international is going through a wonderful spell at the club despite increasingly annoying rumours of his departure from Camp Nou. Turan finally looks settled and comfortable with his role and could go on to play an important part in Barca’s title chasing season.
Wednesday’s match against Sevilla was a perfect opportunity for Barcelona faithful to see the new faces in competitive action for the first time this season. The Catalans have been active in the transfer market, bolstering all of the weak spots and Luis Enrique seems to have forged a strongly competitive side once again.
Umtiti, Denis Suarez, Gomes and Digne were all involved in the match which also saw Leo Messi score his 100th goal in the Luis Enrique era.
Barcelona manager was pleased with his team’s performance against Sevilla as he is preparing to guide his team into the La Liga opener this weekend, with another home game versus Real Betis.
The Spaniard looked humble following his team’s big win, saying he is fortunate to be able to work with a group of unique players, who don’t stop surprising him. The 46-year-old former Barcelona forward has dedicated almost his entire career as a player and as a manager to Barca’s cause and last night was particularly important for him.
Having returned to Barcelona in 2014, Luis Enrique won the treble in his first year as the first-team head coach. Second year also proved to be a success with the Catalans winning the double, with Champions League trophy being the only one they missed in the 2015-16 season.
As his side stomped over Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla, it became clear that Luis Enrique was on his way to win the only trophy he missed with Barcelona so far.
Having completed the collection of trophies, Enrique will have to wait for just a couple of more days before having an important piece of the puzzle back in his hands as Neymar is nearing the end of the Olympics duties with Brazil.
Barcelona proved once again that no player is bigger than the collective and that the team’s play will not suffer without members of the MSN triumvirate.
And while his teammates were setting a record Super Cup win, Neymar was enjoying one of his own with the Brazil national team. Neymar scored twice in Brazil’s 6-0 win over Honduras in the Olympics football semi-finals, with his first one becoming the fastest goal in Olympic history.
It took the Brazilian only 15 seconds to slot home as the semi-finals barely kicked off.
Neymar intercepted the ball and charged towards the Honduran side, tripped over the goalkeeper and put the ball in the net. Brazil captain led his team to victory as the Selecao now get ready to face Germany in the final showpiece.
It will be a fine opportunity for Brazil to take revenge for the 7-1 humiliation in the World Cup 2014 semifinals in a rematch Neymar is relishing before he returns home to Barcelona.
The Catalans will be without their starlet for the opening La Liga game vs Real Betis, but it will have little effect on their play. Barcelona are standing at 4/11 for a Half Time/Full Time win and will not need Neymar to accomplish their aim.
Still, the Brazilian remains a major force for the Catalan club both on and off the pitch and Luis Enrique will surely welcome back his talented forward with his arms wide open as he begins the chase for new trophies and new records in the new 2016-17 season.
With Neymar, Luis Enrique’s collection will officially be complete.