Barcelona took their resurgence under Xavi to another level by thrashing rivals and runaway La Liga leaders Real Madrid 4-0 in El Clasico.
Real Madrid were on their best Clasico run in years, having won the last five meetings in all competitions and started the day 15 points clear of Barcelona in La Liga – however, they were met by a rejuvenated and revitalised Barca, who ripped them apart in every department.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice and provided an assist for Ferran Torres, while Ronald Araujo also headed home in a rampant performance by the visitors. Aubameyang has now scored nine goals in his 11 appearances since arriving from Arsenal.
Former Arsenal striker Aubameyang had already been denied from close range by Thibaut Courtois when he popped up with the opener on 29 minutes, bulleting a header home following a fine run and cross from Ousmane Dembele.
Real Madrid looked lost without Karim Benzema, who was missing through a calf injury, and it was no surprise when Araujo doubled the lead when heading home from another Dembele cross.
Carlo Ancelotti changed the shape of his runaway league leaders at the break but it did not change the trajectory of the game as Barcelona were soon 3-0 up when Torres spanked home a fine finish following a fine flicked Aubameyang assist.
The one-way traffic towards Courtois’ goal continued and Aubameyang grabbed his second on 51 minutes. His fine finish was originally disallowed for Torres being offside in the build-up but VAR overturned the decision in favour of Xavi’s men.
Barca had several opportunities to extend their lead, but Courtois avoided any further humiliation.
The title might be heading to Real Madrid as they remain nine points clear but this was a famous night for Barcelona, who sent out a clear message to the footballing word: Barca are back!
After his Barcelona side produced a first Clasico victory in seven attempts – they had lost their last five meetings – Xavi Hernandez said: “We’re very happy, very satisfied for all the Barca supporters.
“The meaning of this victory, I think it can change, more or less, the dynamics of the present and also of the future. That’s the first thing I want to say. As far as the game, we had understood that [Luka] Modric and [Toni] Kroos were out, and we looked for the backs of the interior players of Real Madrid.
“[David] Alaba was also jumping on Frenkie [de Jong], and then Ousmane [Dembele] was one against one. We have shown a lot of personality. I asked the players, I told them it was a game to have a lot of personality, to be bold, not to lose the ball.
It was Real’s first home defeat of the season, in the midst of their 120th-anniversary celebrations. – Sky Sports