Frenkie de Jong hopes for Riyadh support in Spanish Super Cup final

Barcelona take on Real Madrid in clasico title match on Sunday

Barcelona players prior to the Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Osasuna at the Al-Awwal Park Stadium in Riyadh. AFP
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Barcelona midfielder is Frenkie de Jong is banking on the support of fans in Riyadh ahead of Sunday's Spanish Super Cup final against arch rivals Real Madrid.

Barcelona defeated Osasuna 2-0 on Thursday at Al Awwal Park, with goals from Robert Lewandoski and Lamine Yamal helping set up a mouthwatering el clasico title match in Riyadh for the second year running.

De Jong was a key performer in the midfield as Barca defeated Real Madrid 3-1 last year, and the Dutch international hopes is hoping for an encore, with the support of Barca’s fanbase in the kingdom.

“The support makes us very happy; it gives us plenty of energy in the field. The support helped us a lot in the semi-final, and we hope that many people again root for Barcelona on Sunday," De Jong said.

“Games like that are the best. Every player wants to be part of it. We'll do our best to win the Super Cup. It will be a match between two teams playing at the highest level, so any result is difficult to predict. I believe we have a good chance to win.”

Barcelona welcomed back Pedri from injury on Thursday. The midfielder came on as a substitute, in his first appearance in a month. De Jong believes Pedri will have a crucial role to play against Real.

"Pedri is a player with exceptional talent, and he makes all the difference. The team plays in a smoother way when he is on the field, and we are really pleased he is back in the team,” De Jong added.

Meanwhile, Barcelona winger Raphinha is facing another period on the sidelines after the club revealed he was suffering from a new hamstring injury.

"Tests carried out today have shown that Raphinha has a left hamstring injury," Barcelona said.

"He is out and his recovery will determine his availability."

The Brazilian was injured late in the first half of Thursday's semi-final against Osasuna in Riyadh, and had to be replaced in the 42nd minute by Lamine Yamal.

Real Madrid reached the final after coming from behind to beat city rivals Atletico 5-3 in extra time on Wednesday in a breathtaking contest.

The 2024 tournament is the fourth time that the Spanish Super Cup is being played in Saudi Arabia. In 2020, Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid on penalties in Jeddah, and won the trophy again two years later by defeating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in Riyadh.

Last year, goals from Gavi, Lewandowski and Pedri saw Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-1, with Karim Benzema – who now plays for Al Ittihad – netting for the runners up.

Sunday’s final takes place at Al Awwal Park, the home of Al Nassr. The match kicks off 10pm local time (11pm UAE).

Updated: January 13, 2024, 7:00 AM