Lionel Messi pulled the strings for Barcelona as they moved another step closer to their second straight La Liga title on Saturday night.
Those are the facts from the perspective within the Blaugrana camp, even if much of the attention post-match has centred on Real Madrid's ongoing woes.
Los Blancos lost their second El Clasico in just four days, this time courtesy of Ivan Rakitic's 26th-minute strike.
The only Real player to demonstrate much fight at all was Sergio Ramos, and even that came in characteristically misguided fashion.
The centre-back's trailing arm caught Messi, with the Argentine squaring up to him moments later.
Gerard Pique revealed afterwards that his team-mate had been left with blood in his mouth by the incident.
Few will sympathise with Ramos' needless aggression, but it's easy to imagine that Santiago Solari's men had grown exasperated trying to stop him.
Whereas the 31-year-old had been relatively quiet in last Wednesday's 3-0 win at the Bernabeu, this time around he was a constant threat.
In fact, Messi had more touches than any other player on the pitch, and a good deal of them were sublime. No change there, then.
Messi's kick-up challenge
In a video for Unisport, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been serving up a reminder of just how good his control is by showing off his kick-ups with a number of different objects.
First, a football, then a tennis ball, followed by a golf ball and a football boot. The last would be nigh-on-impossible for a mere mortal, but Messi was unfazed:
He also gave his thoughts on a question that has been debated throughout his career, asked by the interviewer whether he thought physique or talent on the ball were more important in the modern game.
"I think nowadays it's more difficult to see talented players and I think football is constantly getting more physical, more tactical and it's great to see people with talent because nowadays I think that's what's needed most.
Messi also revealed some of the exercises which helped him gain such an affinity with the ball from a young age in La Masia.
"I came here when I was 13 years old and all the training was always about being close to the ball.
"Every exercise was based on having the ball in tight spaces, short games, ball possession, rondo.
"Everything was continuously based on keeping the ball."News Now - Sport News