Zinedine Zidane insists Real Madrid are happy to be in Saudi Arabia as they prepare for the controversial revamped Spanish Super Cup.
Four of LaLiga’s biggest names have travelled to the Middle East, with Real playing Valencia on Wednesday and Barcelona facing Atletico Madrid the following day before a final on Sunday.
All three fixtures will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City as Saudi Arabia continue to stage major sporting events following on from the Italian Super Cup and Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight boxing victory over Andy Ruiz Jr.
The change of format and decision to host the finals in Jeddah have come in for intense criticism, with some reports in Spain suggesting Valencia had sold just 26 tickets for their clash with the 10-time Supercopa winners.
But Madrid boss Zidane is pleased to be part of the tournament as he aims to take another piece of silverware back to the Bernabeu.
“We’ve not come here to make up the numbers, it’s an important competition and we want to give our all,” Zidane said at his pre-match press conference.
“We know that it’s going to be tough, but we have to play to our best.
“I’m happy to be here because it’s an important competition and one that my players and I are up for.
“We’re here to play in the Spanish Super Cup, we’ve received a really warm welcome and are delighted with the welcome we’ve been given in Saudi Arabia.
“We’re abroad but we adapt to things. We’re fully focused on the semi-final, which for us is like a cup final.”
Karim Benzema, missing through injury this time out, netted a last-gasp equaliser to earn Real a 1- 1 draw when the clubs met at the Mestalla last month and Valencia midfielder Francis Coquelin believes they can go one better this time around.
“We’re up against very tough opponents in Real Madrid,” the former Arsenal midfielder told Valencia’s official website.
“We played them very recently and they are a side who demand a lot from you.
“However, we’ve done a good job against big sides so far this season. We need another great game in order to progress from the semi-final.
“We’re obviously not going to Saudi Arabia for a holiday. We’re going there to win and to get the trophy”