The Camp Nou faithful unveiled their carpet before the El Clasico that read “We Colour Football”. On the day, FC Barcelona exemplified what it meant. They played the beautiful football, that the club stresses upon.
They brought back memories of the golden generation of Pep Guardiola's team. The team played on one wavelength. Each player knew what the next sequence of passes was going to be. Arthur and Rakitic recreated the magic that Xavi and Iniesta created so effortlessly. They outclassed the Madrid midfield duo of Modric and Kroos.
Pique and Lenglet were solid at the back just like the good old days when Puyol stood guard. The front three, even though without Lionel Messi, was irresistible. FC Barcelona had the game sealed the moment Suarez headed the third goal in. But they were merciless in their approach and humiliated Madrid by scoring five past them.
Madrid were beaten mentally. Lopetegui left the pitch after the 4th goal itself, Sergio Ramos was seen crying out of devastation. The protagonist for Barcelona and the antagonist for Real Madrid turned out to be Luis Suarez. He was at his absolute best, showed good dribble and pace and managed to score three past, Thibaut Courtois.
Suarez’s performance was a standout in Leo Messi’s absence. On that note, let us relive some of the brilliant individual performances in the El Clasico. Coincidentally, all of them occurred at Santiago Bernabeu.
Back in the 2005/06 season, Barcelona visited the hostile atmosphere of Santiago Bernabeu as league Champions. The Bernabeu was all set for the biggest showdown in Spain with their star-studded squad consisting of Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Raul.
Barcelona was looking for a win that would solidify their status as Champions. They got it in a match they would have loved it the most. Led by Eto’o, a then young kid called Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho, Barcelona were coming into the Clasico as strong favourites.
The majestic smiling Brazilian was all smiles before the encounter. He smiled and laughed, along with his Brazilian teammates wearing the whites. Once the starting whistle blew, Ronaldinho’s smile turned into absolute footballing perfection.
Ronaldinho caused all the problems that he could from the left wing. He was uncatchable, no matter how hard anyone tried. He schooled with the defence of Roberto Carlos, Helguera and Ramos. Poor Sergio Ramos was a victim of the Brazilian maestro twice.
During the first goal, Ronaldinho accelerated through the left wing and moved past Ramos’ sliding challenge with ease. He moved into the box and circled past Helguera and Carlos, before finishing past the hapless Casillas.
Ronaldinho almost had an identical second goal, the difference being that this time his pace was too good for anyone to catch-up with. Ramos was the only one who even tried to stop Ronaldinho but he was humiliated yet again, failing to bring the Brazilian down, even after attempting to pull him down by the shirt.
The Real Madrid Ultras applauded the efforts of Ronaldinho, thus putting football over any rivalry. It was also a dagger to their own players for their poor showing against the arch-rivals.