Real Madrid are a very good team and boast the most potent attacking force in Europe. They have now scored 33 goals in just nine games and their star talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has an impressive 20 goals in as many games.
If Real are remarkable then Ronaldo is beyond that. Ronaldo has notched 16 goals in nine games and has scored in 11 games consecutive games. Not bad for a player who at the age of 29 is meant to be at the tail end of his career but there is no such sign given the phenomenal form that Ronaldo is currently in.
Madrid’s win over Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season was a master class in efficient and effective counter attacking football which was breathtaking to watch. Barcelona came into the game with the most impressive defence in the Spanish league they had not conceded a single goal in the league ahead of Saturday’s defeat.
But Real - with the league’s best attacking record in La Liga - made light work of tearing through Barcelona’s defence who were outfought and outclassed by some of the world’s best attacking players in the effortlessly clinical Karim Benzema, tremendously talented James Rodriguez, tireless Toni Kroos and the impressive Isco.
However, one cannot overlook Barcelona’s attack who proved how imperiously incisive they could be when they took the lead with just four minutes gone.
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Luis Suarez played in Neymar with a cross-field pass which Neymar controlled with his chest to cut inside and curl in a beautiful low shot into the corner of the net that left Iker Casillas with no chance.
Neymar’s finish was evidence of his clinical finishing marking his eighth goal for Barcelona from just nine shots on target in all competitions.
Despite their blistering start Barcelona could not withstand Real’s continuous pressure and conceded a penalty when Pique was forced into committing a foul whilst trying to prevent a dangerous low cross coming into Barcelona’s box.
Up stepped Ronaldo to send Claudio Bravo the wrong way with a thumping finish into the left-hand side of the goal to send Real level with 10 minutes until half time.
Once Real were level the Bernabeu erupted to life and Real’s entire team quickened their pace all over the pitch and adopted an insatiable intensity that soon put them in the lead through a commanding header from Pepe.
Pepe’s header highlighted Barcelona’s vulnerability at defending set pieces and 10 minutes later Benzema exploited another defensive weakness when he combined with Isco, Ronaldo and Rodriguez to find space behind Barcelona’s overstretched defence.
Real’s dominance in this first El Clasico of the season was made evident through the fact that they were happy to let Barcelona attack, as though they were waiting for Barcelona to finish their move before having a go themselves.
Real applied little pressure and made very few tackles. Barcelona had more of the ball, if only because their attacks tended to be more elaborate, while Madrid were quicker to reach Barcelona’s box and made the most of the space in between Barcelona’s midfield and defence largely unchecked.
Luis Enrique's Barcelona are probably the most technically gifted side that Real have faced this season but as many teams who will face Carlo Ancelotti’s side will learn, if they are to beat Real Madrid they will need more than talent.
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