Barcelona emerged victorious from ‘El Clasico’ after beating Real Madrid 2-0 in Madrid. This was the first home defeat for Los Galacticos in la Liga and might signal the end of Real’s challenge to wrestle away the league title from the Catalan club.
Real’s defenders looked shaky not only because of Lionel Messi’s movement but also due to midfielder Xavi Hernandez who dissected the capital side’s defensive line with his incisive passing and pinpoint assists. In fact Messi could have had a hat-trick as he missed two other golden opportunities created by the midfield maestro who was in supreme form. While Messi was being referred to as unstoppable prior to this match, Xavi went about his business in a calm, assured and effective manner without much fuss. Messi is certainly the world’s best player at the moment but Xavi could be considered a close second on the evidence of tonight’s performance and his priceless contribution over the course of the season.
Real Madrid were missing Brazilian Kaka and despite his failure to meet expectations in his first season in Spain, the former Milan hero was still sorely missed because he could have created more options for Los Galacticos and one moment of magic from him would have sufficed to create a scoring opportunity. Barca showed they do have the edge because of the familiarity between the players and the way they work for each other. Real’s players are still not on the same page and too dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo. Spain’s number one Iker Casillas was also to thank for limiting the magnitude of the result as he performed two impressive saves to deny Messi from scoring more goals.
With seven rounds remaining from la Liga it would be wrong to assume Barca have won the title and Messi was one of the first to insist there is a lot to player for. On the other hand, Real’s record signing Ronaldo stressed the race for the league title is not over yet in a clear move to keep the morale in the Madrid camp from collapsing even further.
The Barcelona win basically paves the way for the Catalan side to retain la Liga title provided they remain focused and avoid being complacent in the last seven matches. Barca have the talent and the depth to win all the remaining fixtures while Real have realistically handed the title to their rivals and will now have to keep winning and hope Barcelona begin to drop points.