On Saturday, the most one-sided El Clasico since 2010 occurred, just in case you somehow missed it.
Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu was not only emphatic but it was also made to look comfortable. The Catalan giants treated their rivals pitch like a training center, as they produced a scintillating performance full of flair, elegance and “Tiki-Taka” football, that not only dazzled the Barca faithful but left Madrid supporters out of their seats and applauding.
Andres Iniesta, in particular, produced a memorable display and was at the heart of almost everything that Barcelona did right on the night. He didn’t last the full 90 min’s, as is the norm for a player of his age, however he didn’t need to. During the 77 mins that he was on the pitch, he had done enough damage to Real Madrid that they had completely forgotten about the threat of Lionel Messi on the bench. He created and scored in what was a captivating performance, which resulted in him leaving the pitch to a standing ovation from both sets of supporters!
The last player to have the Madrista’s on their feet and applauding a rival, was Ronaldinho and that was ten years ago. His performance that evening had the whole of Bernabue, in awe, after the Brazilian superstar had scored two sensational goals.
Similar to Ronaldinho, Iniesta has a knack for delivering in the biggest of games. The Spaniard was voted man of the match in Barcelona’s Champions League final win over Juventus last season and has come good for his country in both the World Cup Final (2010) and the Euros (2012).
Much of the attention prior to this game, was whether Messi would be fit enough to start. The Argentinian forward had been out with injury for some time and his comeback was perfectly timed, however he could only make the bench. Current world player of the year Cristiano Roanldo, who has now hit the big screen with his recent biopic movie “Ronaldo” was as ever the talk of the press. Both Neymar & Suarez have been on fire for the club in Messi’s absence, scoring goals for fun and both were on the score sheet once again.
Although, Luis Suarez and Neymar may have led the demolition of Real Madrid, there could only be one-man match of the match and it was Andreas Iniesta.
His role in assisting Neymar for his goal was nothing short of brilliance. Iniesta received the ball from Rakitic after Suarez had done well to retain possession, with great awareness he saw off the challenge of Toni Kross before moving the ball forward in front of a Madrid defence that continued to push further back, he then lifted the ball past Luka Modric and into the feet of Neymar who was able to slot past Keylor Navas with ease.
Neymar and Iniesta’s passage of play for Barcelona’s third goal represented the principles and teachings of La Masia that would have made Johan Crujff delighted. Modric and Kross were once again made to look clueless as Iniesta roamed past the duo before passing into the feet of Neymar who returned the ball back with a perfectly executed back-heel, allowing Iniesta to fire an explosive shot into the back of the net.
With the score at 3-0 Iniesta was substituted 13 minutes from time. As he came off the pitch, he was met with a standing ovation from Barcelona supporters, as well as the home fans that acknowledged a master class display.
Marca have labelled 2015 as Barcelona’s year and whilst that is true, the past year has also been one of Iniesta’s best in a Barcelona shirt.