The latest edition of the famous El Clasico fixture was an absolute thriller.
Goals from Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema and Fede Valverde sealed the victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s side at the King Fahd International Stadium in Saudi Arabia.
Xavi’s Barcelona team will return to Catalonia with their heads held high, though.
The Blaugrana gave a great account of themselves against their arch nemesis and were unlucky to lose the match.
A significant number of positives came from the fixture for Xavi, including the returns of Pedri and Ansu Fati – the latter scoring Barcelona’s second goal in the final 10 minutes of normal time.
Young defender Ronald Araujo was also magnificent at the back again and the fact he was able to perform to such a high standard in a very physically-demanding position really is quite remarkable.
The Uruguayan was a doubt going into the match because of a hand injury and it certainly wasn’t a minor one either.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano revealed in a tweet on Thursday afternoon that Araujo actually underwent surgery for the issue just five days before El Clasico and played the full 120 minutes with two screws(!) in his hand.
Araujo’s commitment to representing Barcelona
What. A. Warrior.
Taking to the field in that condition is commendable, but outperforming pretty much everyone else on the pitch while carrying an injury like that and wearing a protective splint is simply astounding.
It’s taken quite a while, but Barcelona may have finally found Carles Puyol’s heir.
Araujo, Fati, Pedri and Gavi are four major reasons why the Blaugrana’s future is starting to look incredibly bright after a tough few years.
The 2021/22 season will be a transitional one, but Xavi’s side may just be a force to be reckoned with in the next.