• Analysis

Ivan Rakitic decides La Liga’s El Clasico for FC Barcelona

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With a lonely goal from Ivan Rakitic during the first half, FC Barcelona won the second consecutive El Clasico vs Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

After getting eliminated by FC Barcelona in Copa del Rey, Real Madrid was looking to at least get La Liga’s El Clasico in their favor but Ivan Rakitic had other plans at the Bernabeu this evening.

It was evident that Los Blancos weren’t going to let the Blaugrana win this match that easily, but the final result was basically proof that Real Madrid really does need a player like Cristiano Ronaldo in order to remain competitive against their most hated rival.

There is a lot to unpack from this Saturday El Clasico, but we’ll get the most obvious part out of the way so we can talk about the other moments of the game that are worth mentioning.

The Catalan club dominated the match throughout the whole 90 minutes, they really have become the most dominant visiting squad that comes to the Santiago Bernabeu and they showed their superiority once again today.

The only goal of the match arrived early in the first half, Ivan Rakitic dinked the ball over Thibaut Courtois after Sergi Roberto set him up with a clinical pass.

But Los Blancos seemed a lot more preoccupied on stopping Leo Messi rather than other players, the Argentine played a much better game today than he did last Wednesday but he wasn’t able to score any goals as the defense was on top of him at all times.

Just before the halftime whistle, Messi got his first warning from “butcher” Sergio Ramos via his elbow.

Those damn elbows that the Spanish defender loves using when he is defending, the Argentine took the worst part as he ended up spitting blood after the clash.

As soon as he stood up after the hit, Messi went after Ramos and they nearly got into a brawl but the other players and the whistle are what stopped them.

The second half was filled with missed opportunities from both sides, but FC Barcelona clearly dominating the chances.

The other major story of this game is Gareth Bale’s inability to connect with the Real Madrid fans, the Welsh player’s relationship with the Bernabeu is completely broken and he left under a thunderous jeer from the whole stadium.

We can already start thinking about the clubs that will come after the “Cardiff Express” next summer, it doesn’t seem that he will want to remain at the club in the future as his period with the club is completely over.

Gareth was never able to get past a defense that was led by Gerard Pique, who is another one of the most notable players of this match.

The Catalan defender was completely unplayable tonight, none of the Real Madrid players up front were able to get past him.

Just as it happened last Wednesday, Vinicius Junior was one of Los Blancos’ most active players by a longshot but his finishing skills still need a lot of polishing.

Karim Benzema was erratic throughout the 90 minutes, and other players like Asensio or Isco weren’t able to make a difference when manager Santiago Solari gave them the opportunity to play.

Lionel Messi had a final chance to score his goal on the last minutes of the game, but his shot passed right by the top corner and he was frustrated by this missed opportunity.

Real Madrid has lost two titles in the last 72 hours, it’s clear that this season has been a tough reminder that they are no longer the best club in the world and they have a lot of work to do in order to get everything back to normal by next season.

All Los Blancos can do, for now, is rely on the Champions League for next week against Ajax.

However, looking at how poorly Los Blancos have been playing this season against top teams, there isn’t too much hope for them to get far in the competition they have dominated for the last three years.

FC Barcelona is well on its way to securing both La Liga and Copa del Rey titles, all they need is to secure the Champions League but that won’t be as easy as it may appear.

What does Real Madrid need to do in order to become a competitive squad again? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.