Cristiano Ronaldo at Messi's Camp Nou

Cristiano Ronaldo cropped up at the most decisive moment on Saturday having just previously struck the Barcelona crossbar. Gareth Bale provided the assist as Cristiano chested the ball and fired home between Claudio Bravo’s legs. A goal from a big game player in a big game. Also a goal which, in a moment changed the emotional dynamic of both teams as we enter the final and critical stage of the season. On Saturday, Cristiano got the better of Messi. The Barça No. 10 had a fine effort saved after goalkeeping heroics from Keylor Navas. The game of football is all about small details.

There were also supporting role players whose importance was key in Saturday’s El Clasico. Casemiro tightened up Madrid with his serenity and presence on the pitch and whilst Rakitic was at the heart of everything that Barça did in the centre of the field. His substitution was akin to taking the plug out of a bath as Barça disappeared down the drain after his change. Players like these are vital and especially in the final part of any game.

FC BARCELONA - REAL MADRIDLeo Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo,

Cristiano has suffered plenty of criticism in recent times as his form has slipped ever so slightly. Many of these coming from Barcelona, where the most fervent have seen how the Portuguese player won two Ballon D’or awards at Messi’s expense. The Cristiano-Messi debate is a constant theme when I carry out my weekly on line chats. Without doubt Messi is marvelous talent but Cristiano won Saturday’s tussle with his winning goal. It was the player from Madeira’s tenth goal at Camp Nou and he was the decisive factor in tilting Saturday’s game also proving that he can score at any ground regardless of the opposition at any time of the season.