FC Barcelona moved on from the Lionel Messi era on Sunday evening when they beat bitter rivals Real Madrid 3-1 in the Spanish Super Cup final.
With Karim Benzema scoring a late consolation, Barca were far more dominant than the scoreline suggests and could have easily netted more goals while also keeping a clean sheet.
From start to finish, they outclassed the La Liga and Champions League holders to seal their 14th title in the competition and keep Los Blancos trailing behind them with 12 victories.
Though Barca may be criticized for the vigor in which they celebrated a piece of silverware not considered a major trophy, the manager and players have reacted in this manner because of what this Super Cup title represents.
It is the club’s first trophy since 2021, and a maiden triumph on the watch of former midfielder Xavi Hernandez as head coach from which his group hope to kick on with other prizes such as the league and Copa del Rey in their sights.
Furthermore, however, the latest destruction of the old enemy from the mainland capital felt like the Lionel Messi era being put to bed for good.
The 2022/2023 Spanish Super Cup is also the first trophy that the Blaugrana have won this century without their greatest ever player since the 1998/1999 Liga.
Messi left to Paris Saint Germain in the summer of 2021 on a free transfer and was named Forbes’ second-highest paid soccer star in 2022 with earnings of $120mn as teammate Kylian Mbappe pipped him on $128mn.
And though there have been rumors he could return to Camp Nou in the summer, he is likely to stay put in France or perhaps even head to Saudi Arabia should a rumored, mouthwatering $350mn offer come forward.
With Pedri and Gavi at the helm, though, last night’s win felt like a changing of the guard for once and for all.
Spain’s midfield pairing toyed with Real Madrid and fabled rivals such as Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, and should now spearhead a glory-soaked renaissance in Catalonia for the next decade or so.