Real Madrid took a 3-1 victory in the first Clásico of the 2022/23 LaLiga Santander season. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were the pre-match favorites, but the ease with which they won shows the gulf between the two giants.
Barcelona have improved tremendously since their harrowing 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in 2020.
Xavi Hernandez has the team playing a brand of football more in-tune with Blaugrana traditions. However, continued Champions League failure piled the pressure on Los Cules ahead of Sunday’s Clásico.
Result shows how far Real Madrid are ahead
Barcelona arrived at the Bernabeu at the top of the LaLiga Santander table. Xavi’s coaching has been brilliant from a domestic standpoint.
However, once his Barcelona team were on the same pitch as Real Madrid the gulf was evident.
Los Blancos never really had to get out of second gear. They just had better, more confident players all across the pitch.
As good as Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha can be on their day, Vinicius Jr is a level above.
Karim Benzema is the best center-forward in the world at this time and nobody is playing better than Federico Valverde.
Despite being positioned as a right-winger by Ancelotti, the Uruguayan’s all-action style has been a game-changer in Madrid.
Real Madrid’s starting XI doesn’t have the stars it once did. There is no Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka or Luis Figo. However, the players there are almost the perfect team unit.
The work Ancelotti has done in blending this team together will likely go down as one of his crowning achievements.
In every position on the pitch Real Madrid had better players than Barcelona, and it’s been years since that was the case.
With this in mind, Barcelona never stood a chance on Sunday.
Barcelona fans need perspective
Losing a Clásico is painful. Really painful. It can have the potential to derail an entire season. Yet, Barcelona should be pleased with their progress with Xavi at the helm.
Success was not going to come overnight, irrespective of their summer spending. The team and club needed a structural reset and the results of such a plan don’t show quickly.
Going out in the group stage of the Champions League is frustrating, but Barcelona fans need perspective.
Real Madrid were always going to win Sunday’s Clásico. They are at the optimum point for a team, they have gone through the difficult post-Ronaldo period and have come out stronger.
Their midfield is blended with veteran stars and youngsters who will be the best around in 2-3 years. Barcelona have Pedri, who could be the best of the bunch, but he isn’t ready quite yet to take over a game like the Clásico.
Clásico result shouldn’t be a surprise
At present there is a gulf between Spain’s two biggest clubs. This isn’t news. Expectations on Barcelona have been too high. People forget how much of a mess they were in after the cataclysmic Josep Maria Bartomeu era.
Joan Laporta is flash, arrogant and irritating, but he has the best interests of Barcelona’s football team at the forefront of his mind.
This means Xavi will be backed and given time. Barcelona are now on the right path. Results like Sunday’s Clásico defeat will hurt, and there will be more of them. However, short memories will forget that it was the Catalans who were humiliating their fierce rivals in the not-too-distant past.
Real Madrid are a better football team right now. They will win LaLiga Santander this year and deservedly so. Florentino Perez has built a squad that is prepared for future success.
Barcelona need to accept that and understand their time will come again, even if they feel tremendous pain at this moment.
Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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