Barcelona and Real Madrid played a fantastic game of football in the Santiago Bernabeu last night and here are the five things we learned from another "classic" El Clasico.
1. Messi is still the best player in the worldIn the absence of Neymar, Barcelona looked to Messi for inspiration, and the Argentine maestro delivered emphatically. Messi was everywhere in the game last night.
He dropped deep to create chances from the back, took on Real Madrid defenders at will, and contributed to the game despite being made a target all night. Messi's two goals were a thing of beauty and will be remembered for a long time by football fans.
But it is more than goals the mercurial forward offers. It would be unfair to Messi to measure his game in terms of just goals and assists. He delivers magical performances in almost every game, and against Real Madrid, he transcends his game to the next level.
2. Bale shouldn't have started the gameThe Welsh forward is struggling lately with injuries. He was out of touch in the game from the start to finish last night. The forward contributed nothing good for Zinedine Zidane's team compared to his own high standards. The idea Zidane had might be to play him about an hour and replace him, but it did not pay off as he was forced to leave due to injury in the first half. His replacement, Marco Asensio, was fantastic against the Blaugrana. With his pace and trickery, Asensio gave Barcelona a hard time. He even created a clear cut chance for Ronaldo, but the Portuguese had not put on the scoring boots in the game.
3. Goalkeeping MasterclassBoth goalkeepers, Marc ter-Stegen and Keylor Navas, displayed magnificent five-star performances despite the game ending 3-2. ter-Stegen saved Barcelona on multiple times, and the one from a Benzema header was world class from the German. Keylor Navas, on the other side, was even more influential, bailing out Real three to four times with his heroics. His save on the 59th minute from a Pique header was a thing of legend and ten minutes later, Suarez was also denied from the point blank range by Navas. There is a rumor in Madrid that the club will go all out to get Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea in the summer. But judging by the performance of the Costa Rican against Barcelona, Navas is on par with the Spanish international goalkeeper. Now it's all about consistency from his side.
4. Sergio Ramos did it againIf Sergio Ramos didn't have a phenomenal goal scoring prowess, he would be not be rated as a top class defender. The Real Madrid captain has a history of letting his team down at crucial moments due to his hot-hotheadedness. And he did that again in the last game. His reckless challenge on Lionel Messi was another example that Ramos is not learning from his mistakes anytime soon.
If he had stayed on the pitch for whole 90 minutes in the game, the result would have been a bit different, which could have sealed La Liga title for Real Madrid.
5. James Rodriguez should not waste his talents in Real's benchThe Colombian player in one of the most elegant players in the world of football. It is no doubt that he is not getting playing time according to his talent. So, he should consider ditching Real and move on to, maybe, Chelsea or Manchester United or another top team like Bayern Munich.
His goal against Barcelona last night showed what the forward can do despite having little time to settle in the game. If the Colombian were to move to the Premier League, the footballing world could enjoy the mighty talents of the attacker week in, week out.
[Featured Image by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images]