21 Nov Barca rule in Madrid
Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona (Suarez 11, 74, Neymar 39, Iniesta 53)
This was 4-0 going on ten for the visitors with the gulf in class so evident, long before the world’s best player entered the arena as a second half substitute.
The clash of Spain’s best two teams has so often been billed as Ronaldo against Messi but, the tiny Argentinian had to settle for a place on the bench, while the ‘movie-star’ Ronaldo was surrounded by some teammates well short of match practise and others simply outclassed.
This game belonged to Suarez and Neymar for their goal-scoring exploits but they were outshone by the cameo from the legend that is Iniesta.
11 minutes into the game Sergio Roberto sliced open the Real defence to allow Suarez to curl the ball with the outside of his boot into the bottom corner of the net past Keylar Navas.
The margins are often fine when you have two world class teams with world class players on show, but on this occasion the gulf was vast as Barcelona pressed high and forced a lethargic and at times pedestrian Madrid side onto the back foot time and time again.
Six minutes before the break, the genius that is Iniesta, picked out Neymar inside the box and from his left foot Barca were 2-0 up and cruising.
The white handkerchiefs were in full view from the Madrid fans and their voices of discontent was directed towards the President Florentino Perez with loud calls for him to resign as Barcelona threatened to run riot with chance after chance.
Eight minutes into the second half, the game was over as a contest with the goal of the game from Iniesta.
Real Madrid backed off allowing Rakatic to stroll forward to pass to Neymar, the Brazilian cooly flicked the ball into the path of Iniesta to lash the ball high into the net to kill off any hopes of a comeback for the home side.
Four minutes later, Barca boss Luis Enrique decided to rub salt into the wounds by throwing on the world’s greatest player to inflict more damage.
Lionel Messi duly obliged by playing in Suarez in 74 minutes to allow the Uruguayan his second goal of the night with a sublime flick over Navas to make it 4-0.
Barcelona are now six points clear at the top of La Liga with this emphatic display of superiority.
It was a painful defeat for the home team and their fans, but credit to some of the Madrid supporters for applauding the great Iniesta when he was substituted thirteen minutes before the end.
Iniesta’s appearances are becoming less frequent for the full ninety minutes and it is a sight to savour watching the diminutive Spanish midfielder strutting his stuff and reminding all real football fans including those in the white of Real that he remains a truly world class act.
The night belonged to Barcelona, and on the evidence of this game, the title will be theirs once more in May, if not long before.