Euro 2020 Special

El Clasico: Breathtaking Barcelona Conquer Bernabeu

Barcelona’s three-year losing streak against their arch-rivals Real Madrid came to an end on Sunday as Xavi Fernandez’s men crushed the hosts 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu. It was undoubtedly the best performance of the season for the Blaugrana, as former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoreline for the visitors in the 29th minute. Carlo Ancelotti’s men were in shambles for the rest of the fixture, with the absence of Karim Benzema being clearly felt.

Here’s our review of Sunday’s El Clasico fixture between Real Madrid and Barcelona:



Real Madrid were the clear favourites heading into the fixture, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men were in prime form both in La Liga and in the Champions League. Sevilla were more than 10 points away down below, and the fixture meant little to Real Madrid in terms of points but had special significance owing to its rich history.

Barcelona themselves have executed a remarkable turnaround under their new manager Xavi, climbing up to fourth in the table from a miserable ninth spot before Ronald Koeman’s dismissal. Barca have not won an El Clasico fixture since 2019, losing four out of the last five fixtures against their arch-rivals. The fixture has been highly anticipated at Camp Nou as the defining moment that will mark the turnaround that Xavi has orchestrated in the past five months.



Real Madrid were without their star leader Karim Benzema as he missed out due to a calf injury that he picked up last week. Carlo Ancelotti opted for a 4-2-4 formation, using Luka Modric in a false-nine position at the top of the attacking line along with Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.

Real Madrid Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois, David Alaba, Éder Militão, Nacho, Dani Carvajal, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Federico Valverde, Luka Modric, Vinícius Júnior, Rodrygo.

Barcelona had a fully-fit team ready for the fixture and opted for no major changes. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang led the attack with Ferran Torres and Ousmane Dembele by his side for most of the fixture.

Barcelona Starting XI: Marc-André ter Stegen, Eric García, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Ronald Araújo, Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres, Ousmane Dembélé.



Both Real Madrid and Barcelona made a lively start to the match, putting pressure on the goalposts right from the start. Both sides missed opportunities to score, and it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who made the first breakthrough in the 29th minute with a header from close range. Ousmane Dembele was the crucial man for the visitors in the first half, first assisting Aubameyang and then delivering a corner to Ronald Araujo to make the scoreline 2-0.

Real Madrid’s half-time substitutions turned out to be a disaster as Barca added two back-to-back goals to steal the match away from the hosts. Ferran Torres scored a brilliant right footed shot from the centre of the box into the top right corner just two minutes after the restart, arguably the best goal of the fixture. It fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to once again score from the centre of the box just four minutes later, with an assist from Ferran Torres that was awarded after a VAR review.

Carlo Ancelotti tried his best to make his team find the back of the net at least once. Mariano Diaz was put at the front, but that didn’t help things much as a disciplined Barca defensive unit held off the threat. The visitors had more opportunities to score even after the 4-goal advantage, with Aubameyang, Torres and Dembele all missing good chances.

Barcelona dominated the possession of the ball and had 10 shots on target compared to Real Madrid’s 4. Los Blancos ended the game with an xG of 0.85 – a clear sign of their weakness without Karim Benzema.

Barcelona on the other hand, are cruising at the moment and have a strong shot at dethroning Real Madrid next season. Aubameyang has been the real game-changer at Camp Nou, scoring nine goals in 11 fixtures for the Blaugrana so far since his signing in January.



While it is hard to solidly claim that the golden days of Barcelona are back, their transformation under Xavi has been a fairytale so far. The club has missed a lead player after Lionel Messi’s departure, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks to be a promising prospect. With 54 points in La Liga and a match in hand, they are sure to finish in second place by the end of the season. The Blaugrana also have an outside shot at the title this season, but that would require Real Madrid to blunder and throw away their lead at the top.

For Real Madrid, the loss will hurt their morale a bit, but nothing more. They are nine points clear at the top and have an easy month ahead of them, and the return of Karim Benzema could see them return to their winning ways. Carlo Ancelotti’s mind will be occupied by the Champions League fixtures, where they will face Chelsea in the quarterfinals before facing either Manchester City or Atletico Madrid in the semifinals.




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