No culer can really be too downhearted after a remarkable performance from Barcelona against Los Blancos who were, before kick-off, the heaviest of favourites.
Whether followers of the Blaugranes like it or not, the Xavi project is in its infancy and will take time to blossom.
However, if the 120 minutes against Carlo Ancelotti’s rampant La Liga leaders is anything to go by, the club are going to be just fine.
Defensively Barca were again naive at times, however, better teams have been undone this season by the Benzema-Vinicius double act.
It’s a shame that when Real’s goals came, they were all totally avoidable. No matter, this team will learn, as they have already learned in the short space of time Xavi has been at the helm.
The side looked really together as a unit for the first time in a long time, and what appeared to be missing under Quique Setien and Ronald Koeman has been rekindled and repurposed under our former midfielder.
When you consider the ages of a number of these players and how they played so much better without fear, as Xavi noted after the game, that has to be seen as a huge step forward.
When they drove forward and went at Real, Los Blancos had no answer. Both goals were no more than Barca deserved, and on another night a third certainly wouldn’t have been beyond them.
Given that the likes of Pedri and Ansu had only just returned from injury and Ronald Araujo was playing just days after hand surgery, they and their colleagues deserve the upmost credit for really making a game of it.
Certainly, any of their upcoming league opponents will be watching that game with interest.
Madrid are gonna win, but Barca are gonna be happier.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 12, 2022
There was more than enough to have the majority of the Spanish top-flight running scared again, with the only question mark being how Xavi solves the persistent defensive worries.
Although the result wasn’t the one wanted, Barca put a marker down. Just like Laporta said. They’re back and they mean business.
This season still has a long way to go and success isn’t beyond this team already.
Buy the right players in the summer and ship out the dead wood, and next season will be looking incredibly positive for the club and the squad.
Against the backdrop of serious financial concerns, the manner of the performance really can’t be understated.
It was brave and it was brilliant. It was Barca.