What did we learn from the four-part El ClÃƒÂ¡sico series?
The latest instalments of El ClÃƒÂ¡sicos disappointed as footballing spectacles, but what did we learn?
So after 1-1, 1-0, 0-2 and 2-1, what did we learn from this dramatic series of El ClÃƒÂ¡sicos?
1) Barcelona are the best team in the world
Real approached all four matches, particularly the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, in a defensive manner. By looking to contain the attacking threat of Lionel Messi and his colleagues, Jose Mourinho was admitting the superiority of Madrid’s opponents.
Barcelona did what was required without producing the glittering performance which saw them dismantle Real to the tune of five goals earlier in the season at Camp Nou.
But even the staunchest Barcelona detractors would be hard-pressed to deny the Catalan club the title of the world’s finest club side.
2) Jose Mourinho is not so special in Madrid
Taking the job at the most successful and most political club in world football could prove a challenge too far for the 48-year-old.
Mourinho may have brought silverware thanks to his side’s first Copa del Rey triumph in 18 years, but his future in the Spanish capital remains far from certain, and his recent media outbursts have done little to help his case.
3) Uefa’s RESPECT campaign is yet hit to home
This El ClÃƒÂ¡sico series highlighted an alarming disregard for match officials. German official Wolfgang Stark was continually hounded by both sets of players in the first leg of the European tie.
Mourinho then continued the antics in his post-match news conference. If a manager is unwilling to respect the decisions of officials then it is highly unlikely that his players will either.
4) Lionel Messi is the undisputed king of world football
In case we didn’t already know it, the Argentine confirmed his status as the best player around. Messi single-handedly rescued what was an otherwise dour Champions League semi-final first leg and sparkled throughout the four matches.
His movement for his first goal in the Champions League first leg was outstanding. He darted to the near post to meet Ibrahim Afellay’s cross ahead of Sergio Ramos and diverted the ball past Iker Casillas.
And his second was simply divine. He evaded tackles from Xabi Alonso, Lassana Diarra, RaÃƒÂºl Albiol, Marcelo and Ramos as he weaved his way through Real’s ailing defence and slotted a perfectly-angled finish past Casillas.
5) Barcelona’s theatrics threaten to undermine their success
Guardiola’s men could well be the best club side ever, but dramatics from the likes of Sergio Busquets, Pedro RodrÃƒÂguez, Javier Mascherano and Dani Alves are tarnishing their reputation.
Football purists will struggle to comprehend the need for such talented individuals to undermine their quality through diving and the feigning of injuries. And sadly, the type of theatrics seen against Real Madrid appear to be a regular occurrence for the Catalan side.