The Catalans had to delay their media commitments due to some unscheduled problems with traffic and directions
Barcelona’s preparations for their Supercopa semi-final with Atletico Madrid hit an unfortunate snag on Wednesday when their team bus was lost in Jeddah.
Head coach Ernesto Valverde and midfielder Sergio Busquets were due to speak to the media at 5.45pm local time at Al-Ittihad Sport City.
Barca, like Atletico, decided to hold training there because of concerns about the pitches at the Al Ahli complex.
To confuse matters further, the team bus driver set off on Wednesday for the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, where the two semi-finals are to be played, rather than the Al-Ittihad facilities.
The bus then became lost in a maze of traffic in the 40 miles between the two venues. Suffice it to say that Barca were forced to delay the news conference until after training.
“We certainly know the city a bit better now,” Valverde said a little later. “There was a little mistake. We went to the stadium where Real Madrid and Valencia play tonight. He realised before we arrived but then there was some traffic, so we were late.”
With concern over a lack of tickets sold and players such as Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ousmane Dembele, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale all absent, the inaugural expanded Supercopa could do without any further problems.
The first semi-final between Valencia and Real Madrid takes place on Wednesday, with Barca and Atleti meeting a day later.
Valverde conceded he preferred the previous Supercopa format but admits the club’s are powerless to resist the pull of financial incentives.
“It is a different format than we are used to,” Valverde said. “It’s a final match and we approach it as a league game, knowing that we are looking for victory and we know how difficult it is to play against Atleti.
“We already saw it in the league, which we solved in the end. If they [the authorities] give me a choice, I prefer the previous format.
“It has always been the first title of the season, the game that opens the season, and I thought it was good. The Supercopa format has been changed and we will see how it is.
“We must bear in mind that the football we are involved in is an industry, sources of income are sought and in the same way that there are special connotations in this country, there are also in Morocco, where we played last year.”
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