Rebirth Barcelona rekindle the magic with Real Madrid route

By Rek Hanibal Published on March 22, 2022
Rebirth Barcelona rekindle the magic with Real Madrid route

The Catalan giants have been reborn under their legendary former midfielder. After Sunday's emphatic victory against the runaway La Liga leaders, it looks certain Xavi will only further that legacy from the dugout. "We are back," tweeted veteran defender Gerard Pique minutes after the visitors completed a dominant 4-0 defeat of their oldest and fiercest rivals to end a run of five successive losses in the encounter.

That was poignant coming from a man who has experienced more Clasicos than most, through the intensity of the Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi era, under the highs of Pep Guardiola's mesmerising side and more recently during the upheaval caused by Barca's financial struggles.

It would still take a severe collapse for Real Madrid not to be celebrating the 35th title with their fans at the Cibeles Fountain in the heart of the Spanish capital come to the end of the season.

Carlo Ancelotti's side remains nine points clear of Sevilla and 12 ahead of third-placed Barcelona at the top of La Liga. Still, Barcelona has now set the tone for the future of this iconic encounter.

"We changed our negative dynamic of losing the last few Clasicos," said Xavi. "We've proved we can compete and play against the best sides.

"I don't know if we can win the title. We can't rule out anything. Maybe we're a bit late, but this is a huge win."

"I'm very proud of my team. This is El Clasico and can only help us going forward. There's still a lot to do."

After losing their way under Ronald Koeman, Xavi has managed to quickly implement his desired style at Barcelona since arriving in November and has been boosted by what now look very shrewd signings in January.

"I'm not surprised about Xavi," says former Real Madrid and Barcelona striker Javier Saviola, who spotted the midfielder's potential as a coach when they played together for Barca.

"You could already see that he had the ability to acquire this facet of coaching that is so complicated for everyone. He had those tactical coaching habits, always positioning the players he had in front of him in a way that he saw them, that we don't realise. So you could already see things.

"He has given Barca a different face. The signings have been important. The signings that have come in this season have been beneficial to Barca and they are playing at a high level.

"We have to be patient with him, but I think he's the right coach because he was born at the club, he has the Barca philosophy and he undoubtedly has everything to be able to succeed at FC Barcelona."

Those new signings include Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who stunned the home fans at the Bernabeu into silence when he headed Barcelona's first and then sent some heading towards the exits when he grabbed his side's fourth after just 51 minutes.

The Real supporters then had to suffer the ignominy of listening to a small pocket of travelling Barcelona fans "ole" every pass, with teenage midfielders Pedri and Gavi suggesting they can be key components of many El Clasicos to come.

"When Messi and Cristiano left people were saying the Clasico won't be the same," said former Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta, who was in Madrid to work on ESPN's US coverage. "But Spanish clubs have been really good at producing young players."

La Liga know the huge global pull of El Clasico and have been attempting to glam up their marquee fixture by giving it the 'Super Bowl' treatment, hosting pre-match parties featuring former players, celebrities and influencers and staging fan events across the city.

But after going three years without beating Real in La Liga, Barcelona's dominant win has now done the marketing for them.


Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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