Real Madrid and Barcelona will write the latest chapter in their tempestuous rivalry of guts and glory when they clash in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana at Camp Nou on Sunday.
For arguably the first time since Barca's sensational treble-winning season in 2008-09, Madrid enter the campaign widely favoured to get the better of their Clasico rivals on the back of LaLiga and Champions League glory last time around.
Barcelona are under new leadership with former Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde, who hammered his new employers 5-1 on aggregate in this fixture in 2015, and he will hope to make a similar statement for supporters still reeling from Neymar's world-record departure to PSG.
But how much influence can the Supercopa realistically have over the title race to come? Here, we examine some showdowns that set the tone for the season ahead.
1997 – Real Madrid v Barcelona
Who won the Supercopa? Jupp Heynckes' Madrid conceded a slender 2-1 first-leg advantage at Camp Nou before putting Barca to the sword 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Raul scoring a brace to take his total over the tie to three. It proved a humiliating start to life in Catalonia for Louis van Gaal.
What happened next? Although Van Gaal would never enjoy the popularity of compatriots Johan Cruyff and Ronald Koeman among Cules, the Dutchman whipped Barca into shape and led them to a Liga and Copa del Rey double. Madrid were 11 points back in fourth but ended the campaign with a triumph of their own over Juventus in the Champions League final.
2011 – Barcelona v Real Madrid
Who won the Supercopa? Pep Guardiola's Barcelona continued their imperial period with a 5-4 aggregate victory – Lionel Messi snatching a 3-2 second-leg win on home turf with his second of the match, having also netted in a 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu.
What happened next? All hell broke loose. In stoppage time, Marcelo was red carded for chopping down Cesc Fabregas and both benches spilled into a melee. Amid the testosterone-fueled jostling, Madrid boss Jose Mourinho played the role of dastardly villain and poked Barca assistant Tito Vilanova in the eye. Only, as far as the Portuguese was concerned, this was no act of petulance. His spokesman Eladio Parames told El Mundo: "Jose will not ask for forgiveness. He firmly believe that he was defending the interest of Real Madrid."
Arguably, there was some method in Mourinho's malevolence. This flash point came after an ill-tempered run of four Clasicos in 18 days in April, where Barca won a Champions League semi-final, all-but wrapped up LaLiga and lost the Copa del Rey final. It added to a strain that began to show on Guardiola as his final season in charge of Barca rumbled on, Mourinho's Madrid reeling in his all-conquering side to take the title.
2012 – Real Madrid v Barcelona
Who won the Supercopa? Barcelona, who gave Guardiola a Copa del Rey triumph as a send-off, won 3-2 at Camp Nou but Madrid prevailed 2-1 at the Bernabeu to win on away goals. Cristiano Ronaldo was on target in each leg, while it was all-eyes on the dugouts as Vilanova had stepped up to go head-to-head with Mourinho.
What happened next? Without Guardiola to offer verbal sparring - Vilanova having opted to take the high road with his one-time assailant - Mourinho turned inward and a Madrid dressing room mired in internal conflict ceded LaLiga to a Barcelona side that racked up 100 points in the process.
Tragically, Vilanova was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer for a second time in December 2012. He returned to the bench in March 2013 but stepped down at the end of the season. He died in April 2014 after suffering a relapse, aged 45. "Tito Vilanova’s passing is a sad day for football, for Barcelona and most importantly for his family and friends," said Mourinho.
Leo Messi has scored goals in the Spanish Super Cup. Watch them all again here https://t.co/bwtuUArdiI— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 10, 2017
2013 – Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
Who won the Supercopa? Gerardo Martino took charge of Barca and edged Copa del Rey holders Atletico on away goals, Neymar's first goal for the club to claim a 1-1 draw at Vicente Calderon ultimately proving decisive as the return in Catalonia ended goalless.
What happened next? Martino would win no more silverware as Barcelona coach, a failure largely down to a brilliantly dogged Atletico. By the end of the season, including the Supercopa, the Blaugrana had played Atleti six times and failed to win once. Diego Simeone's men knocked them out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage and Diego Godin's final-day goal secured a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou to seal improbable LaLiga glory.
|Independiente del Valle´s Angulo to serve four-year drugs ban|
|Manchester City star Raheem Sterling allegedly attacked before game|
|Spain in danger of missing the World Cup - Villar|
|Springbok Kriel not bound for Gloucester|
|Kaepernick, Stephen Curry want in on Panthers ownership|
|Messi: Clasico win will give Barcelona a happy Christmas|
|Smith the top dog again, Moeen misery continues - Perth player ratings|
|Barcelona midfielder Rafinha available for Clasico|
|Tudor sacked by Galatasaray|
|Du Plessis could miss historic Zimbabwe Test|
|Puncheon charged by police after late-night incident|
|France great Michalak to retire at end of the season|
|Whitewash in Australia´s sights as England face unenviable task|
|Lynn the six king, Scorchers the team to beat - The best Opta facts as the BBL returns|
|West Ham star Lanzini charged for dive at Stoke|
|Root backs Cook, Broad and Anderson to extend Test careers|
|Bayliss still believes he´s the right man to lead England|
|Mikel not interested in January move to Everton|
|Dortmund frustrated by Aubameyang punctuality - Zorc|
|Hegazi secures permanent West Brom deal|
|We´ll see how he pulls up - Smith unsure Starc will play in Melbourne|
|Diddy wants to buy Carolina Panthers and sign Kaepernick|
|Police investigating ´hate crime´ amid reports of Sterling attack|
|Halstenberg suffers broken hand in scoring for Leipzig|
|Van Gaal eyes one more job ´to spite Manchester United´|
|The Ashes Round-up: Perth pummelling sees Australia reclaim the urn|
|Valverde fumes over ´absurd´ lack of VAR in LaLiga|
|We´ve not played well for long enough, says beaten Bayliss|
|´Proud´ Smith hails Australia selectors after regaining Ashes|
|England ´outplayed´ by Australia as Root loses grip on the urn|
|Conte rails against Chelsea exit rumours|
|Dominant Australia regain the Ashes|
|Arnold backed for Socceroos job as Ryan pays tribute to Postecoglou|
|Jaguars end NFL playoff drought, Packers in danger|
|LeBron logs third straight triple-double as Cavaliers keep rolling|
|I´m happy playing for Lazio, says Man United target Milinkovic-Savic|
|Klopp dislikes ´Fab Four´ nickname|
|Wet pitch, rain delay final day in Perth|
|Ronaldo a legend, one of best ever – Ramos|
|Richardson to put Panthers up for sale at season´s end|
|Starc set to bowl despite bruised heel|
|Steelers star Brown suffers calf injury|
|Patriots edge Steelers in thriller|
|Kaka Retires: The last member of Brazil´s 2002 World Cup-winning team|
|Barcelona won´t give Real Madrid a guard of honour – Amor|
|Valverde adamant Clasico won´t decide LaLiga|
|Barcelona could have held Griezmann talks, says Amor|
|There are other challengers - Suarez tempers Clasico fever|
|Adverse drugs test has put Froome in ´horrible situation´|
|Pre-season win over Spurs key to City´s season, Guardiola claims|
|Juventus still monitoring Liverpool´s Can - Marotta|
|Griezmann apologises for ´awkward´ fancy dress|
|Barcelona lose Alcacer for El Clasico|
|Barcelona 4 Deportivo La Coruna 0: Suarez, Paulinho at the double in Clasico warm-up|
|Griezmann attracts criticism for ´racist´ fancy dress|
|Spedding extends Sarries losing streak, Wasps halt La Rochelle|
|Klopp calls for Liverpool consistency after Bournemouth battering|
|Coutinho won´t be drawn on Liverpool future|
|Kaka Retires: Ballon d´Or, Milan glory and Brazil brilliance among career highlights|
|Liverpool make top-flight history in Bournemouth victory|
|We can´t think we´re unbeatable - Jesus|
|Lukaku´s love for West Brom behind muted celebration - Mourinho|
|Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4: Coutinho sparkles as Reds return to winning ways|
|Pool-topping Blues gain Sale revenge|
|Kaka Retires: Former clubs and team-mates pay tribute|
|Dybala needs to be in better physical shape - Allegri|
|Hearts break spell but Celtic join Milan, Porto among unbeaten elite|
|Juventus allowed Bologna nothing - Pjanic|
|Mourinho: United lost ambition in second-half slump|
|Lingard claiming second goal in Manchester United win|