Barcelona recorded an absurdly comprehensive victory at the Bernabeu, outplaying Real in midfield and cutting through their defence regularly.
Rafael Benitez chose a 4-2-3-1 system rather than the 4-3-3 he’s played in recent weeks, effectively omitting holding midfielder Casemeiro in order to accommodate his star attacking players. At the back, Raphael Varane and Marcelo returned in place of Pepe and Nacho.
Luis Enrique had fitness doubts over two players – Ivan Rakitic and Lionel Messi. Rakitic was declared fit to start, but Messi’s return from injury had to wait – he was a substitute, with Sergi Roberto starting on the right instead. Javier Mascherano started alongside Gerard Pique but limped off midway through the first half, replaced by Jeremy Mathieu.
Real started this game reasonably well and arguably dominated the first 10 minutes. Once Barcelona took the lead, however, it was one-way traffic.
Read more »