After failing to lift a trophy last season, Real Madrid have secured the Spanish Super Cup title with a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in Saudi Arabia.
Luka Modric and Karim Benzema scored a goal in each half of the final as Madrid comfortably defeated last year’s champions to reinforce their status as the top team in Spain this season.
Madrid have already beaten Barcelona twice — including in the Super Cup semi-finals — and Atletico Madrid once, and are more than 15 points clear of both rivals halfway through the La Liga campaign.
Carlo Ancelotti has also led Madrid to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Madrid went without a trophy for the first time in more than a decade last season under Zinedine Zidane.
“This is motivation for us to keep going,” Ancelotti said. “We have to keep competing like this.”
Madrid’s 12th Super Cup title moves them only one behind Barca, the competition’s most successful team.
It was Madrid’s second Super Cup title since the competition was controversially moved to the Middle East in 2020 and played in a revamped “Final Four” format.
Real enjoyed the great majority of support from the 30,000 fans in the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, which was at 50 per cent capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Super Cup returned to Spain in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Modric opened the scoring with a curling shot into the top corner after being set up by forward Rodrygo just inside the area in the 38th minute.
Captain Benzema added to the lead by converting a 51st-minute penalty kick after a handball determined by video review.
Athletic had a chance to move closer in the final minutes but Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved Raul Garcia’s penalty.
Madrid defender Eder Militao was sent off for the handball that prompted the penalty.