Barcelona’s 4-3 triumph over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday evening was yet another reminder to the footballing community that El Clasico remains a fixture unparalleled in the modern game.
A hat-trick from Lionel Messi and an early strike from Andres Iniesta cancelled out a Karim Benzema brace and Cristiano Ronaldo penalty to deny Madrid the chance to reclaim top spot after city rivals Atletico had beaten Real Betis 2-0 earlier in the day.
Though marred at times by controversial refereeing and player theatrics it is a far less hostile fixture than in the days of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
Instead, the enthralling and sheer speed of the football exhibited by both sides means it is cemented as the biggest clash in the sport.
Ronaldo and Messi may be the central attraction, but others helped contribute to one of the best Clasico’s of recent times.
Iniesta was outstanding throughout, whilst Angel Di Maria’s contribution will allure him to any possible suitors around the continent.
Adversaries in Manchester, Milan and Glasgow have bite and passion, but the style and swagger of the sides fail to match those of the two Spanish teams.
No matter the manager, no matter the players, this is an occasion never to be missed. The ultimate pinpoint in the footballing fans calendar.
Sergio Busquets and Pepe tried their best to live up to their macabre reputations, but the papers tomorrow will be filled superlatives about the match and not about individuals that were prepared to riddle it.
The consequences and implications of the fixture and on the title race are massive. The final months of the season promise to produce one of the greatest trophy tussles La Liga has ever seen.
This game may yet go a long way to deciding who will lift the trophy in May. But for Barcelona and Messi, it puts the Catalonian club right back in the running.
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