For once Lionel Messi wasn’t the star performer for Barcelona. That honour was bestowed on the brilliant puppeteer Xavi Hernandez.
Barcelona’s number six was in incredible form in Saturday night’s El Calsico, as Xavi quite simply bossed the match. Xavi was the architect for both Barcelona goals at the Bernabeu, and he could have had four assists in the match had Iker Casillas not pulled off two fabulous stops to keep the Catalans down to just two goals.
Xavi’s first telling contribution came in the 33rd minute when he played an almost telepathic one-two with Leo Messi, clipping a pass over the defence and onto the Argentine’s chest, before The Flea did the hard work to beat Raul Albiol and Casillas for the opener.
Early in the second half Xavi was again the supplier. His superbly weighted ball sent Pedro through beyond Alvaro Arbeloa and, dashing into the area, he opened up his body and, left-footed, steered the ball cleverly past Casillas. And still Xavi probed further, as he went on to free Messi twice more with exquisite passes only for the Los Blancos goalie to earn his stripes with two excellent stops.
Xavi’s four magical passes against Real Madrid can be seen here.
It was a frustrating night collectively for the Madridstas but no-one looked more irked by their defeat that the preening Portu-geezer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arms flapping and with a scowl virtually painted on his kisser throughout the contest, Ronaldo often looked like the spoiled younger sibling against the more cultivated and mature brothers of Barca. That said, C-Ron was one of Real’s better players, often found scurrying around the pitch looking to try and get his cohorts back on track. However, when it came to the killer instinct Ronaldo was off-form in the match that truly mattered.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s match highlights can be seen here.