Xavi Hernandez and Carlo Ancelotti
FC Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez faces off with Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti La Liga Content Hub

FC Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez was not afraid to admit that his side completely failed in their attempt to defend their Spanish Super Cup title. The Catalans lost the 2024 final against eternal rivals Real Madrid 4-1 on Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Real Madrid completely outclassed the Blaugrana, with a hat-trick from Vinicius Junior inside the first half. The Brazilian forward had just returned from a series of injuries, and was delighted to have scored twice within the opening ten minutes. That put Real Madrid firmly in the driver's seat, even though Robert Lewandowski managed to pull one goal back in the 33rd minute.

Vinicius then restored the two-goal advantage through a penalty in the 39th minute. In the second half, fellow Brazilian Rodrygo Goes sealed the deal for Real Madrid through their fourth goal of the night. Things then got even worse for Barcelona after they were reduced to ten men when Ronald Araujo was sent off in the 71st minute. They could no longer put up a fight after that, and the remaining 30 minutes was spent mostly preventing Real Madrid from scoring again.

In his post-match press conference, Xavi was completely devastated and did not try to sugarcoat the result. He said: "We had a lot of hope and we ended up with the worst result of all. We started very badly. Real Madrid did a lot of damage to us on the counter attack."

In quotes carried by Spanish publication Diario AS, Xavi also apologised to the Barcelona fans for the disappointing display. However, he had to inject some inspirational words in the end. "I have experienced many defeats in my career and in the end we always recovered. Barca will return," he added.

Barcelona also lost their first La Liga clash against Real Madrid 2-1 earlier this season, and are seven points behind Los Blancos in the league table. However, despite losing the chance to lift an early 2024 trophy at the Spanish Super Cup, Barcelona are still far from being ruled out in La Liga.

They are also still in contention for the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. Later this week, they will meet third division side Unionistas in the Copa del Rey, and they will also be facing Napoli in the round-of-16 of the Champions League late next month.

There is still a lot to play for, with half of the season still remaining. Barcelona captain Sergi Roberto is also frustrated by the result, but he is rallying the troops to bounce back.

He said after the final: "We're angry, but on Thursday there's another competition (Copa del Rey). We have to learn from our mistakes, and this defeat, but there are other competitions left. I trust in this team and we have to continue on this road."

He then emphasised that the loss hurt more because it was against their biggest rivals. However, he admitted that they found themselves too far behind way too early in the match and could no longer fight back.

"It was a final against an eternal rival and we wanted to win. Two goals in the first 10 hurt us a lot. At 2-1 we were still in it, but with the penalty and the goal in the second half, it wasn't to be," he said.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid's hat-trick hero showed off a familiar celebration after he scored the opening goal. Vinicius performed Cristiano Ronaldo's famous "siuuu" celebration and admitted that he did it as a tribute to the Portuguese star, who now plays for Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr and was watching from the stands that evening.

He said: "The celebration was dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo, because he is my idol and now he plays here."