Familiar foes clash on Wednesday, January 12, when Barcelona and Real Madrid take the King Fahd International Stadium by storm in the semifinals of the 2022 Spanish Super Cup. The game will be broadcast in the US by fuboTV (7-day free trial).
Last time they met, Los Blancos claimed a 2-1 victory at Camp Nou over their eternal rivals. That result would eventually produce Ronald Koeman's firing a few days later following another defeat for Barcelona, this time to Rayo Vallecano.
A lot has passed since then. Xavi Hernandez took the helm of the Cules to begin a rebuild process, El Merengue took off in the La Liga standings, and Barca failed to make it into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League and dropped to the Europa League. However, Toni Kroos doesn't seem to be really aware of what has been going on with Madrid's archenemies.
Toni Kroos says he has 'other things to do' rather than watching Barcelona
"I've not watched many Barcelona games lately, I have other things to do and watch our games," Kroos said in a press conference when asked about the difference between Xavi's Barca and Koeman's, as quoted by Marca.
"But I know them well, they have some doubts but overall have a lot of high-quality people... I can't say though what has changed under Xavi," he added. To be fair, Barcelona don't seem to be a threat to Madrid's La Liga aspirations, so he may not need to care about them in that aspect. But given the rivalry between these clubs, his comments have obviously made a lot of noise.
Carlo Ancelotti does know how Barcelona play under Xavi
On the other hand, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti did watch Barcelona this season. "They have some veteran players, like [Sergi] Busquets, [Gerard[ Pique and [Jordi] Alba who always bring a lot to the team," he said.
"But the young players pushing through are really standing out right now, like Gavi and Nico, who could have great futures. I like [this Barcelona] because they are a team with an identity, in the traditional Barcelona way, I think the team will improve with [Xavi's] contribution."
Barcelona and Real Madrid will face each other on Wednesday aiming to punch a ticket to the Spanish Super Cup Final, in which the side that emerges victorious will meet with the winner of the Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Club semifinal. El Clasico will be broadcast in the US by fuboTV (7-day free trial).