Real Madrid hopes of defending their La Liga crown from last season have all but gone up in smoke after a crushing El Clasico defeat yesterday lunchtime. A win for Barcelona now sees them a staggering 14 points clear of their arch rivals.
Zinedine Zidane’ men may well have a game in hand but you get the feeling that even if they were to win that and reduce the gap to 11 then it would make little difference in the grand scheme of things as Ernesto Valverde’s men exacted some revenge for the Spanish Supercup defeat back in August.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will now be under intense pressure to deliver a third successive Champions League title after their grip on La Liga has been relinquished but looking at the squad on the basis of yesterday’s performance you do have to wonder if lightning can strike thrice.
Not only that but Zidane’s team selection will no doubt be questioned as the decision to leave Gareth Bale, Isco and Marco Asensio on the bench spectacularly backfired as Los Blancos served up a second half capitulation at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Barcelona would take the lead through Luis Suarez but the fact that Ivan Rakitic had the freedom of the pitch in the build up to the goal will have caused the most concern, minutes later the Catalan giants would double their advantage when Lionel Messi scored from the spot.
It was a farcical turn of events that led to the award of a penalty to Barcelona, a see of bodies and a clattering of woodwork eventually saw Dani Carvajal sent off for deliberate hand ball and by the time Messi stroked the ball home it was all but game over.
Zinedine Zidane could have rolled the dice but instead decided to haul Karim Benzema off in place of Nacho, much to the derision of the home fans and that discontent would only get louder when Aleix Vidal made it 3-0 in stoppage time to add insult to injury
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