The first El Classico of the season was billed as a must-win for new Real Madrid manager, Rafael Benitez. Needless to say, a humiliating 4-0 defeat was far from what the under pressure boss needed, but is the scrutiny for the Spaniard justified?
Whilst the performances of Real's stars are undoubtedly far poorer than they were in their Champions League winning campaign, and indeed compared to the majority of last season, Benitez has not been helped by injuries to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, alongside the loss of form for superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite this, Madrid have only lost twice in the league this season, and a string of excellent performances from 'keeper Keylor Navas have ensured they boast the best defensive record in the top flight.
BECOME A WRITER
Do you have what it takes? Sign up today and send over your 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay3
One untouchable presence to have not yet been blamed for the embarrassing to their rivals, let alone their failings in recent seasons, though, is club president Florentino Perez. The big-spender is in charge of almost everything at the club, bar on-pitch performances, and here we look at how he has played an integral part in Real's lack of success.
In general, it is a well-known 'secret' that consistent managerial changes does not breed success. It does not allow for continuity in style and also promotes the requirement of short-term results, disabling a manager's ability to plan for the future.
We are seeing that with Madrid. In the last six years, they have gone from Jose Mourinho's rigid, counter-attacking style, passed through Carlo Ancelotti's free-flowing attacking football and arrived at Benitez's style, which seems to be neither yet a bit of both.
While it is completely unfair to say that Perez's most recent transfers have been a failure, bringing in the likes of Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and Danilo have upset the balance of the team considerably, especially taking into account the players they have sold.
Whilst Bale had a phenomenal first season in La Liga, his performances since then have been inconsistent at best, and Danilo has pushed one of Real Madrid's most consistent performers out of the side - Dani Carvajal.
Meanwhile, you don't have to look far to see what some of Perez's ex-players have achieved since leaving the club.
Mesut Ozil recently broke a record for assisting in the most consecutive games in the Premier League, Xabi Alonso has similarly surpassed a host of Bundesliga records at Bayern Munich and Alvaro Morata scored two decisive goals to knock them out last season in the Champions League for Juventus.
Perhaps having a team of Galacticos is not the way forward like it was 15 years ago.
This ties in well with the last point. At most clubs, the manager is in charge of team selection. At Madrid, it is the president. Last season, when Isco performed so admirably in Bale's absence, the Welshman's return to fitness meant he was immediately put back into the side at the expense of the young Spaniard.
Ancelotti claimed he would have preferred to keep Bale on the bench until he was fully fit or if Isco's form dropped.
For El Clasico, it was much of the same. Rodriguez, Benzema and Bale have all had lengthy injury lay-offs and were short on match fitness, yet despite this, all three of them started. Their inclusion in the starting line-up was summed up by a ball through to Benzema, who miscontrolled and Barca 'keeper Claudio Bravo easily gathered.
Rodriguez, at least, justified his inclusion, forcing Bravo into a series of excellent saves.
The commentators during the match described Benitez's predicament as "damned if he does, damned if he doesn't," and based on this performance, they were probably right.