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Frenkie de Jong says Saudi support can inspire Barcelona to El Clasico Spanish Super Cup 2024 glory over Real Madrid

Riyadh: Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong says support from fans in Riyadh helped Barca overcome CA Osasuna in the Spanish Super Cup 2024 semifinal — and believes they can inspire the side to victory over Real Madrid in Sunday’s final.

Barcelona defeated Osasuna 2-0 on Thursday night at Al-Awwal Park through goals from Robert Lewandoski and Lamine Yamal to set up a mouthwatering El Clasico Spanish Super Cup final in Riyadh for the second year running.

De Jong was a key part of the midfield when Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-1 last year, and the Dutch international hopes — with the help of Barca’s fans in Saudi Arabia — victory can also be achieved this time around.

He said: “The support makes us very happy; it gives us plenty of energy in the field. The support helped us a lot in the semifinal, and we hope that many people again root for Barcelona on Sunday.

“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, as the gifted midfielder made a 30-minute substitute return for his first appearance in a month after recovering from injury. De Jong believes Pedri’s contribution against Real Madrid could be hugely significant.

De Jong said: “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.”

Sunday’s final takes place at Al-Awwal Park, the home of Al-Nassr, with a 10 p.m. local time kickoff. Real Madrid reached the final after coming from behind to beat city rivals Atletico 5-3 in extra time on Wednesday in a breathtaking spectacle for world football.

The 2024 tournament is the fourth time that the Spanish Super Cup has been played in Saudi Arabia. In 2020, Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid on penalties in Jeddah, and won the trophy again two years later by beating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in Riyadh. Last year, goals from Gavi, Lewandowski and Pedri in Riyadh saw Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-1, with Karim Benzema — who now plays his football for Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia — netting for the runners-up.

This year’s Spanish Super Cup is the latest illustration of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to hosting the very best international events across all sports, with football at the forefront.

While enabling the Kingdom to build relationships and showcase its unique football culture to the world, hosting events like the Spanish Super Cup provides new opportunities for Saudi people.

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.

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