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4 winners and 1 loser from Barcelona’s 2-1 El Clásico victory against Real Madrid

The best and the worst from a wonderful night at Camp Nou

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Barcelona are now the overwhelming favorites to win the 2022-23 La Liga title thanks to an epic 2-1 comeback win over Real Madrid in El Clásico at the Spotify Camp Nou. Barça were the better team, competed hard for all 90 minutes and came from behind to win it late and open up a 12-point gap at the top of the table with only 12 games to go in the season.

Here are the winners and losers from Sunday’s action.

Note: Applying the labels “winners” and “losers” is not intended to be a judgment on the talent or character of any of these players. It’s just a simple way to grade their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.


FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Frenkie De Jong: Barcelona’s midfield is now Frenkie’s domain. The Dutchman once again was fantastic in El Clásico, and just like he did in the Copa del Rey win at the Santiago Bernabéu three weeks ago, De Jong proved that he can absolutely defend and play the physical side of the game. He made several crucial interceptions and tackles that stopped dangerous Madrid attacks and was fundamental in some of the very good passing sequences that Barça had in the first half and the beginning of the second. He’s never going to provide the stats that many people are obsessed with, but his impact in the game is undeniable and he absolutely should be Barça’s midfield anchor for the next decade.

Sergi Roberto: Another great Clásico performance from a true Barça fan who does nothing but give his all for the badge he loves every time he plays. Sergi is a great teammate and an unselfish player who waits for his opportunity and always seems to deliver when it matters. He was great again in this one with his constant running, his intensity, and his underrated finishing ability. I for one am glad he’s signed an extension, because he might be frustrating to watch at times, but he cares a lot and plays with passion and heart. You can never have too many of those players.

Ronald Araujo: Araujo is such a spectacular defender that he’s a winner even when he scores against his own team, which was obviously a freak accident that could happen to anyone. But as he always does, he kept his confidence and went back to dominating his direct machup with Vinicius Junior and was a threat going forward in set pieces as well. The Uruguayan is the heart and soul of this team and is turning into a complete defender who dominates one-on-one but is also perfecting team defending and improves seemingly every game with his passing and touch. We are lucky to have him.

Franck Kessie: When you score what might very well be the goal that wins Barcelona the title, you are a winner by default. Franck could have easily given up and left in January after a rough start to his Barça career, but kept working, took advantage of the opportunity once injuries and suspensions hit the midfield, and is now an important piece of the team both as a starter or one of the first players off the bench. Well done, President.


FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti: Even though he’s the manager of the enemy, I have always been a massive fan of Ancelotti’s man-management style and tactical savvy, and he’ll deservedly go down in history as one of the best, most decorated coaches in the game. But it’s been quite sad to watch his reactions to the last three losses in El Clásico, which certainly hurt but cannot be questioned as Barça deserved to win them all. His comments after this one especially, questioning the VAR decision to rule out Marco Asensio’s second-half goal which was a clear — albeit marginal — offside call, are disappointing to say the least.

He’s also been outcoached by Xavi Hernández in those three games and has failed time and time again to come up with a way to maximize his best player, Vinicius Junior, who continues to look pretty incompetent against Araujo and is clearly mentally affected by the Uruguayan’s presence. Maybe he’ll finally find a solution for Xavi’s Barça in their Cup tie after the international break, but in his last chance to give his men a chance to win La Liga Ancelotti once again came up short.

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