Lionel Messi Plays for the Inferior Team (Real Madrid vs Barcelona)

It won’t mean anything when it comes to who wins the league title, possibly the scoring title. Lionel Messi got on the scoresheet, but did absolutely nothing else, while Real Madrid dominated, played better and to win, getting it eventually with a winning goal from Sergio Ramos, before getting a bit lucky thanks to the referee.

There was a clear penalty on Adriano in the final minute of the match which the referee ignored and led to the ruckus after the whistle, but Barcelona have no one to blame but themselves, with a terrible second half, without a single meaningful attempt at goal. The balance of power has shifted to Real Madrid, who didn’t need the win too badly, but feel so confident at the moment playing against Barcelona, that were able to to bring Cristiano Ronaldo on after only 57 minutes.

From that moment, after some good minutes from Barcelona during the first half and especially after the Lionel Messi equalizer, Barcelona simply evaporated from the field. Lionel Messi didn’t touch the ball, and Real Madrid simply got more and more dangerous. Barcelona will probably complain after the match for being on the negative end of a bad refereeing performance.

Maybe they’re even right, slightly, with most of the 50-50 going Real’s way. But that’s not why they lost at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since 2008 (in the La Liga); they lost because they haven’t adapted to the way teams play against them, and it seems that without Xavi, and without Vilanova on the sidelines, will continue to stay stuck in a formula that doesn’t work as well anymore.

And Real? This wasn’t exactly a second-string team, but Jose Mourinho has used better lineups in the past. It doesn’t matter. Confidence means so much, and being able to change the way you play in compared to your rival means that much as well. Barcelona keep throwing in the same version with different names to the wing, without changing a thing. Real Madrid made the right changes to push forward and go for the win.

Victor Valdes saw the red card in the end because the recent defeats in big matches were too much for Barcelona to endure, and all the complaints in the world won’t help. Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t score, but two free kicks weren’t too far from going in, while Diego Lopez was hardly noticed in the second half. Andres Iniesta does better as the man who doesn’t have to be in the center of everything, while Thiago simply isn’t ready to dominate at these levels.

Real Madrid leave the happier team of course – a big win to make it the first season without a Barcelona Clasico win (in the league) since 2008, while no one was hurt as they face the more meaningful challenge in a few days – Manchester United.

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