A historical Clasico yesterday at Nou Camp revealed the enormous disparity of class between the best football team of all time and an individualistic group of mercenaries, between a club that operates with elegant collective purpose and a disjointed band of inflated egos that was due for a rude awakening. In the end, it was more than a rude awakening. It was a triumph for Barcelona’s brand of creative genius, for an imaginative football that fully exposed the dour, cynical character of Real Madrid under Mourinho, and a victory that settled once and for all that not only Leo Messi, but also Iniesta and Xavi, stand above Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Not a humiliation,” said Mourinho. “It would have been the same losing 3-0 or 4-1. We lost three points…” Champions often carry the swagger of invincibility and Mourinho has been unfairly accused of arrogance in the past, but on this occasion, Mourinho! How arrogance can really skew a man’s perspective. It was in fact a mild result for Madrid, as Barca could have easily doubled their tally. Last night’s mega encounter captivated a global audience, delivering pulsating action, surely to be regarded as a definitive football clinic that can only be challenged by other Barca performances, past and future, with its unique brand of the most beautiful game we have ever been treated to. Legions of new Barcelona fans came alive around the world. Yet on this occasion, Mourinho could not simply bring himself to salute a display of football that he will never produce. Even if you get a result against Barca in the future, Traductor, until you deliver the caliber of football the Catalans displayed yesterday, your aspirations will never measure up.
With Inter Mourinho managed to get by Barca eight months ago by playing with total brutality in Milano and literally parking the bus in the front of the goal in Barcelona. Without the thugs, the thug game was not activated last night. This time around, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Angel di Maria had a go mano a mano with Xavi, Messi and Iniesta and Madrid ended up chasing shadows for 90 minutes. Quick, Mourinho, buy Thiago Motta from Inter. Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso are still dizzy looking for the ball. Barcelona treated Real Madrid last night to a magnificent display of possession game, constant movement, constant keep-away, almost everything one touch, simply clinical.
Iniesta and Messi were enormous in the first half, Iniesta in particular, whose touch and vision were nothing short of breathtaking. Still, up only 2-0 at halftime Guardiola must have rued the missed chances to kill the game and Messi’s early bender against the post, fury expected on the other side of the interval. The inevitable took place in rapid sequence between the 55th and 58th minutes, when David Villa converted Messi’s sensational, defense devastating passes to put the game out of reach for Madrid and send the 98,000 Catalan fans into delirium. What a joy to see the occupants of 1000 euro seats jumping up and down like in the popular. Nou Camp was louder than ever.
Jeffren’s injury time fifth added the exclamation point of a memorable victory, a thrashing inflicted on a club marked by a culture of chronic arrogance from Florentino Perez on down to Valdano and Mourinho, to Higuain and C. Ronaldo, an arrogance that carried on even after the match when neither Mourinho nor Valdano, a veritable cancer at Real Madrid, could grasp the situation. As for Sergio Ramos’ minute of hatred, when he attacked Messi criminally with intent to break his leg, then smacked Puyol face to the ground and then shoved Xavi’s face for good measure as he exited, the brotherhood of World Cup winning team-mates was shattered in less than sixty seconds. Barca celebrates a historic win and sets a new standard of excellence that may never be touched by another club.