Italian football, to paraphrase Gary Lineker, is a simple game. You can play it when you like, where you like, but in the end Juventus win. They became the most successful side in the history of the Supercoppa outright without even having to be anywhere near their best. Whenever, wherever, the Bianconeri and this trophy were meant to be together.
If this competition had a soul, it would be a complicated one, mind you. It is the seasonal antipasto that has become more of a palate-cleansing sorbet between courses. It is the showpiece of Calcio that is happy to be held anywhere outside Italy that the money might dictate. It is the showdown between last year’s two trophy winners that often features a side which never actually secured any silverware at all. This edition stirred the emotions about as much as sitting in a teacup on a child’s fairground ride.
In fairness, it already felt like Milan were fighting with one arm tied behind their back with the number of players they had missing. Add to that the “fever” - diplomatic or otherwise - that stopped Gonzalo Higuain starting and it never felt like a battle of equals. The 20-odd points of difference in Serie A were always going to be a mountain to climb.
And yet, and yet. The Rossoneri did have their moments before Franck Kessie received his marching orders - most notably when Patrick Cutrone cracked one against the crossbar. There was a spell when Rino Gattuso’s men looked the more threatening, but it ultimately led to nothing. With the inevitability of death and taxes - if it is safe to mention the latter in his presence - Cristiano Ronaldo delivered the killer blow.
This was not vintage Juve but, in the end, it did not have to be. Their opponents put up a fight - they might even have levelled matters with a decent shout for a penalty late on - but there was an air of inevitability about the final outcome. The Bianconeri’s expensive summer signing was grinning from ear to ear after securing his first trophy with his new club.
It was almost certainly the conclusion that the Saudi Arabian hosts were looking for with the anticipation every time the Portuguese superstar got the ball almost palpable. The venue itself provoked protests - with no little justification - but football at the highest level sold itself to the mega-rich some time ago. Personally, I would prefer the game to be played pre-season and in Italy, but my influence with the powers that be is limited. The flipside, of course, is that the authorities often get criticised for not doing enough to sell the global brand of the Italian game.
Max Allegri will probably be happy just to have got this game out of the way and yet another title under his belt. His team - which was missing players of its own - is ticking along nicely towards its other targets of the Scudetto, Champions League and, why not, the Coppa Italia.
Domestically, it is hard to see anyone standing in their way, although on the continent they might yet find it harder. He was clearly unhappy that they had not killed off the game in its closing stages and they left themselves open to a late slap in the face that other sides might be better equipped to provide. For now, anyway, La Vecchia Signora just keeps on winning.
As for Milan, they clearly have more work to do if Higuain does depart and leave a big hole in their attack. New boy Lucas Paquetá showed some promising signs in the first half but he will need to be given peace - and time - to settle in. At least Gattuso will have been pleased that his side did not capitulate after they went behind and a man down, but they still look more functional than inspirational at the moment. That might be alright for a side from the provinces, but this is one of Europe’s biggest clubs we are talking about. Their fans will, quite rightly, expect better.
In the meantime, there is nothing else to do but salute this black and white juggernaut that has crushed the life out of the Italian game for what seems like a lifetime now. Supporters of the Turin giant will not give a fig about how predictable they have made the trophy allocation process in recent years. They have left their rivals trailing and they continue to invest in order to pull even further ahead.
The rest of Serie A is, for the time being at least, little more than a dot in their rearview mirror.