If there was ever a game to showcase Xavi’s way of playing to its fullest, than where better than in an El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu?
Real Madrid were pummelled in the entire game when it wouldn’t have been unfair to have seen the Blaugranes score eight.
The identity has been seen in Barca’s play well before Sunday night’s showpiece of course, but this was the night when it all really came together.
Whether or not Barça go on to European glory or make the league’s top four to qualify for the Champions League next season, as each week goes by, more and more of the old Barça way is being seen.
Every player wearing the senyera deserves the plaudits, but special mention has to be given to Ousmane Dembele, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Pedri and Ronald Araujo.
The French World Cup winner still flatters to deceive, but no one can take anything away from his performance in Madrid.
2 - Ousmane Dembélé is the second @FCBarcelona player to provide two assists in a first half of #ElClásico at the Santiago Bernabéu in all competitions in the 21st century, after Xavi Hernández in May 2009. Stellar. pic.twitter.com/z1Oos803bP— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 20, 2022
That is the Dembele that culers would happily pay good money to watch week in and week out.
Pedri is, very simply, world class. A player that will surely go on to rival his coach as being one of the best ever to have played for the club.
That little dink which almost set up a goal in the first half… how??!!
I must admit that I wasn’t too enthused about the signing of the former Arsenal captain but he’s turned out to be the signing of the season so far.
3 - @FCBarcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the first player to be directly involved in three goals in his first appearance in #ElClásico in all competitions in the 21st century (two goals and an assist). Impressive. pic.twitter.com/b8HIZYFEKP— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 20, 2022
His experience has helped him lead the line with aplomb, and his connection with Dembele in particular is blossoming.
Two fantastic goals and an incredible assist to boot, not to mention superior movement and intelligent running all game long.
Araujo remains an absolute monster both in defence and attack.
He repelled most of Real’s attacks with ease and that towering header was typical of what we’ve come to expect.
A fit Araujo is a must given the lack of pace from Pique and Eric Garcia, even if the nous from the latter pair is worth a yard or two.
It’s true that Los Blancos were a totally different team without Karim Benzema, but even with their French centre-forward, they would’ve been no match for a Barça side who carried out Xavi’s instructions to the latter.
Perhaps the final doff of the cap has to go to the coach.
Another four goals from a Xavi side who were brave, brilliant and back to their very best.