Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a shining light as Barcelona breezed past Real Madrid with a 4-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
The final El Clasico of the season started in an electric manner, with both teams trading blows in the early exchanges. But Barcelona soon wrested control of the proceedings for good before unleashing a hammering, the likes of which have not greeted Real Madrid for a long time.
After a few half chances, Barcelona deservedly went ahead at the half-hour mark, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nodded in Ousmane Dembele’s pinpoint cross past Thibaut Courtois. Dembele doubled his assists tally for the night a few minutes later, as Ronald Araujo headed in his delivery from a corner in the 38th minute, leaving Barcelona two clear of Real Madrid at half-time.
Barcelona did not relent after the break, adding two further goals just five minutes into the second half. Ferran Torres first made it 3-0 at the end of a blistering counter-attack, with Aubameyang turning supplier. And Aubameyang completed his brace in the 51st minute, with Torres becoming the provider this time.
After that, Barcelona had a couple of chances to add more sheen to the scoreline but had sealed the win early in the second half. Following the defeat, Real Madrid’s gap to Sevilla at the top of La Liga is cut down to nine points, with Barcelona a further three points behind with a game in hand. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
Thibaut Courtois: 5/10
Courtois is the only reason Barcelona did not embarrass Real Madrid further on Sunday. The Belgian goalkeeper made a few top-class saves, but he was sold short by the defence in front of him time and again, meaning his team lost by a huge margin.
Courtois: "Our match is unacceptable for a club like Madrid. It looked like we didn't even play. We were not compact, we were bad building up from the back, we could not find superiority in midfield and we lost a lot of balls." pic.twitter.com/zz14sOwWPu
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 20, 2022
Dani Carvajal: 1/10
The abysmal performances are starting to rack up for Carvajal, with the Spanish international never getting out of first gear on Sunday. Ferran Torres humiliated him in the first half, and Carlo Ancelotti rightly took him off at the break. Real Madrid should desperately look for a right-back in the market.
Eder Militao: 2/10
This season, Eder Militao has been the shining light at the back for Real Madrid. But on Sunday, the Brazilian looked like a schoolboy footballer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being his scourge. Eder Militao failed to track the Barcelona striker on multiple occasions, leaving a lot to desire with his reading of the game.
David Alaba: 3/10
Alaba was supposed to be a player who could hold things together at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. But following a disastrous performance, the Austrian defender saw the backline crumble all around him. Alaba could not contain Aubameyang while struggling to cope with the Barcelona press. It is time for him to go back to basics.
Nacho started the game as a left-back and moved into the right-back spot after the break before Ancelotti finally got fed up and removed him. Throughout his 63 minutes on the pitch, the Spanish defender never showed why he deserved to start, with Ousmane Dembele and Torres troubling him to no end.
Luka Modric: 4.5/10
Modric was bizarrely installed in the false-nine role on Sunday, and it was clear that the Croat was hardly comfortable reprising the role. The experiment rightly ended at half-time, and Modric looked at home after returning to the midfield, although he was still not as expressive as he can be on his best days.
Casemiro is usually the one doing all the enforcing on the pitch. But on Sunday, he was outplayed and outmuscled by Sergio Busquets and the rest of the Barcelona midfielders. The Brazilian could not get to grips with the game’s pace, with Pedri particularly tormenting him on the night.
Toni Kroos: 3/10
Kroos misplaced just one pass throughout his outing on the pitch and saw a lot of the ball. But he barely found an opening and was missing a step when off the ball. Barcelona easily bypassed him while restricting his output, forcing Ancelotti to change things at half-time.
Federico Valverde: 5/10
Valverde was quite easily the best of Real Madrid’s starters. And while he only receives a 5/10 rating, the Uruguayan was the hosts’ best prospect for taking anything from the game. Valverde forced the biggest save out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen on the night and linked up with his teammates without much of a fuss. Unfortunately, his best efforts came to nought on Sunday.
Rodrygo Goes: 4/10
It is not every day that Rodrygo Goes is better than Vinicius Junior. But Sunday was one such day, although that does not say much, as the young Brazilian was highly uninfluential, like his compatriot. Rodrygo lacked bite and failed to trouble Jordi Alba, apart from one foray into the Barcelona box.
Vinicius Junior: 3/10
Vinícius Junior has come a long way, but one of the senior players or Ancelotti should give him an absolute bollocking.
Real Madrid should have been 1-1 against the play, but he decided to dive before shooting. Minutes later Madrid concede. Rare occasion it's warranted. pic.twitter.com/ppyxAv0f6k
— Ruairidh Barlow (@RuriBarlow) March 20, 2022
Vinicius Jr. was invariably Real Madrid’s brightest player. But he was a pale shadow of his best form, with Ronald Araujo keeping a lid on his output. And in his desperate search to find something from the game, the Brazilian embarrassed himself by diving inside the Barcelona box to win a penalty.
Eduardo Camavinga: 5/10
Camavinga was hardly an upgrade over Kroos. But what he did bring was dogged defending, although that was missing when Barcelona quickly rounded off the win early in the second half.
Mariano Diaz: 4/10
Mariano replaced Carvajal at the break as Ancelotti finally introduced a striker in the game. But apart from a couple of bright moments, the 28-year-old barely influenced the proceedings.
Marco Asensio: 5/10
It is inexplicable why Ancelotti kept Asensio on the bench till after the game was lost. The Spaniard was a bundle of energy off the bench but could not threaten Marc-Andre ter Stegen much.
Lucas Vazquez: 5/10
Vazquez came on for Nacho with the game’s final quarter left to run. And while the Spaniard barely misplaced a pass, he could not push Real Madrid forward, spending most of his time in his own half.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 8/10
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has rightly been criticised from all quarters this season. But Sunday’s performance saw him roll back the years, as he was quick off his line and made a few decent stops to preserve his clean sheet. In addition, he barely misplaced a pass. It was the kind of outing that could inspire him to rediscover his best touch.
Ronald Araujo: 9/10
Ronald Araújo in the air vs. Real Madrid:
◉ 2 aerial duels contested
◉ 2 aerial duels won
◉ 1 headed goal
Dominant. 🗻 pic.twitter.com/Ayro82OLOz
— Squawka (@Squawka) March 20, 2022
Araujo was a surprise pick at right-back ahead of Dani Alves, but he vindicated Xavi’s decision by keeping the dangerous Vinicius Jr. quiet throughout the game. The youngster never looked in trouble and won all his ground duels. And the cherry on top was his goal, which put Barcelona two up on the night.
Gerard Pique: 9/10
Pique produced a defensive masterclass for the ages. The veteran defender had just one moment wherein he looked in trouble. Otherwise, Pique was in total control at the back, making numerous notable defensive actions while seamlessly transitioning from defence to attack.
Eric Garcia: 8.5/10
Eric Garcia was dreadful earlier in the week against Galatasaray, but he repaid Xavi’s faith by producing a solid performance at the heart of the Barcelona defence against Real Madrid. On Sunday, the Spanish international barely put a foot wrong, completing several crucial interventions while retaining a 98 per cent passing rate to ensure precise build-up from the back.
Jordi Alba: 8.5/10
Alba’s superb run of form continued on Sunday, with the Spanish international providing a constant outlet down the left flank. He could have even grabbed an assist on another day, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fluffing his lines in the second half. He did not have much to do defensively but had the measure of Rodrygo for the most part, bar one moment.
Frenkie de Jong: 9/10
Barcelona’s midfield dominance was why they blew Real Madrid away, and Frenkie de Jong played a big role in that. The Dutchman barely misplaced a pass while searching for openings behind a leaky Real Madrid defence, creating three chances in the process. He also put in the hard yards, producing a complete midfield performance.
Sergio Busquets: 9/10
◉ Most tackles made for Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Sergio Busquets (4)
◉ Most take-ons completed for Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Pedri (3)
◉ Most chances created for Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Frenkie de Jong & Ousmane Dembélé (3)
The midfield delivered. 😤 pic.twitter.com/GnIlmAlys0
— Squawka (@Squawka) March 20, 2022
While the Real Madrid midfielders struggled to impose their authority, Busquets was the exact opposite. The Barcelona captain asserted himself on the game from the get-go, winning several duels while retaining an excellent 93 per cent passing rate. He has the wind in his sail at the moment.
Pedri’s star continues to skyrocket after what was another influential performance. The teenage prodigy was dominant throughout his stay on the pitch and pushed Barcelona forward whenever he got the ball. He might not get the big attacking numbers, but the Golden Boy shines on.
Ousmane Dembele: 8/10
Dembele’s resurgent run continued against Real Madrid, with the Frenchman a menace on the right flank. He pushed forward with purpose and showed the creative side of his game with elan. Dembele first set Aubameyang up for Barcelona’s first before delivering his corner straight at Araujo’s head to start Barcelona’s demolition of Real Madrid.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 9/10
Aubameyang’s stock continues to rise at Barcelona. The former Arsenal captain was a constant presence in and around the Real Madrid box and masterfully beat the opposition defenders by running off their shoulders for his goals. His link-up with Ferran Torres is delightful, and he set the Spaniard up with a beautifully delicate backheel flick. Aubameyang also had the chance to complete a hat-trick, but he fluffed his lines.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s last 3 games for Barcelona:
⚽️ vs Osasuna
⚽️ vs Galatasaray
⚽️🅰️ vs Real Madrid
Arsenal let him leave for free. 😳 pic.twitter.com/LprWRIDqrN
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 20, 2022
Ferran Torres: 8.5/10
Torres has come in for a lot of praise from Xavi lately, and he is finally starting to justify the tremendous amount of faith the Barcelona boss has in him. The Spanish international provided a lively presence on the left flank and helped Alba out when Rodrygo pushed forward.
The icing on the cake was his second-half blitzkrieg, as he combined beautifully with Aubameyang to first score and then assist the third and fourth Barcelona goals, respectively. And had he converted a simple chance in the first half, he would have had a higher rating. Nonetheless, Sunday’s performance was brilliant.
Memphis Depay: 6/10
Depay produced a decent cameo and saw a fair bit of the ball. But his output left a fair bit to be desired.
Gavi kept play ticking when he received the ball and put in the hard yards off the ball in the final 20 minutes.
Adama Traore: N/A
Traore replaced Dembele for the final ten minutes but barely saw the ball in his cameo, with Real Madrid trying to salvage some pride late in the game.
Dani Alves: N/A
A late introduction, Alves helped see the game out.
Nico Gonzalez: N/A
A late introduction, Nico helped see the game out.