Barcelona didn’t have too much of a problem at home against Celta Vigo, but Lionel Messi wasn’t completely there in his mind, looking unfocused and slow to react. Real Madrid had a less than comfortable match against Zaragoza, with the 4-0 scoreline not telling the truth about what happened in the match, but Cristiano Ronaldo simply couldn’t find the goal.

There was nothing wrong with Ronaldo’s concentration. His shots were just off target or just not enough accurate time after time. He didn’t end up without a goal for lack of trying, taking nine shots at goal, all wide of handled well by Roberto Gago. In fact, Real Madrid’s better moments throughout the match came when he wasn’t even touching the ball, but actually serving as a decoy while Gonzalo Higuain, Angel di Maria, Michael Essien and Luka Modric wrapped things up.

Zaragoza scored in the 68th minute, but the Helder Postiga goal was wrongly disallowed, giving Real a break in one of their slower and more uninspired performances this season, despite the win.

For Barcelona, it was more about David Villa, Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta putting on a show on the left wing while Lionel Messi just missed, and missed. Messi had chances early on, but was denied twice by Javi Varas. It seemed like he wasn’t going to let that go, and forgot about passing to anyone no matter who tangled up he was, resulting in a few unnecessary turnovers. Maybe his head was with his newborn baby, maybe it was just one of those days.

He was a bit more involved in the passing game during the second half, but Barcelona did look better when his involvement was minimal. Sometimes, even the best player in the world doesn’t provide the right kind of edge, and the team does better without him. For both Real Madrid and Barcelona, it won’t happen too often.

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