Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – 12 January, 2024: Real Madrid striker Joselu believes the support of fans in Riyadh can help spur Los Blancos to Spanish Super Cup 2024 success on Sunday night.
On Wednesday, the sold-out 25,000-capacity Al Awwal Park – the current home of former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo – saw Carlo Ancelotti’s side come from behind to beat city rivals Atletico Madrid 5-3 in an incredible semi-final.
Joselu, who came on as a substitute, was instrumental in the win after pressurising Atletico defender Stefan Savic into conceding the fourth goal in the final minutes of extra time.
The Spanish striker, praised as “a difference maker” by manager Ancelotti, celebrated the goal with a knee slide in front of the loud and adoring fans – and believes their fervent backing in Sunday’s final could be vital.
Joselu said: “It’s very important to be here with the Real Madrid fans because we saw 90% of the fans in the stadium were wearing white shirts – and for us that’s very important. The atmosphere feels like it’s home and that is very important for us.
“A title is always important for this club, and we will try to win the trophy for them and the club on Sunday.”
Like all good strikers, Joselu is attempting to claim the goal that was officially credited to Savic. The Real Madrid No.14 got a touch on Dani Carvajal’s sublime cross which then hit the Montenegrin defender and went in.
Joselu said: “I aimed to the goal. I then lost the ball, I didn’t know where it was going, but I am keeping the goal to myself. The pass I received was amazing and the only thing missing is that the goal is credited to me. I am here to support the team in everything I can. I obviously want to score goals and this one was quite special because it unlocked a very tight scoreboard and gave us the pass to the final.”
Sunday’s final will see Real Madrid play either Barcelona in an El Clasico clash, or CA Osasuna. That semi-final takes place at 10pm on Thursday at Al Awwal Park. Sunday’s final kicks off at the same time at the same venue.
Joselu, on loan from Espanyol and who previously played for Newcastle United and Stoke City, said: “I don’t mind if we play against Barcelona or Osasuna. I have scored goals against the two teams, so I am looking forward to the match on Sunday. We have done our job; we now have to rest and give it all on Sunday and play as good or better than Wednesday.
“The fans had a good time because they want to see the teams score. We wanted to get to the final. I think our team has done a fantastic job.”
This 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, the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh witnessed a fascinating El Clasico final as Barcelona triumphed over Real Madrid.
As has become accustomed, the four-team Spanish Super Cup 2024 features the winners and runners up of La Liga and Copa del Rey. 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.
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.