Feeling somewhat marginalized by Real Madrid's recent overwhelming successes and wounded in terms of their image on a global level for Neymar's departure, Barça really needed something like yesterday's victory in Madrid to thrust them back into the spotlight. For a club which is hoping to boost its annual income to 1000 million euros by 2021, it was not just a godsend but a necessity. They achieved it by putting in an almost impeccable performance at the Bernabéu. Barça, as always with Messi at the fore, are reinventing themselves once again. Under Guardiola, they were like a steamroller - they got bloated amassing silverware and later got so deep into their total possession-passing game that they ended slipping into a state of melancholy before snuffing themselves out completely. With Luis Enrique they recovered their vigour to which they added a legendary, hard-punching, three-pronged attack before falling foul to a certain elitism in their game. Today's Barça side is one with new values. It is industrious, collective and if it's not eye-catchingly brilliant, it's certainly elegant and well balanced.
Qualities and virtues into the mix
Some teams manage to discover new virtues almost without even trying. This Barça team has conserved players blessed with a subtle, sublime touch such as Iniesta and Messi, but they've become as tough as old boots, practically inpenetrable. They have tireless workers in Rakitic and Sergi Roberto together with team leaders and standard bearers in Piqué and Busquets. And two soldiers of fortune: Luis Suárez and Paulinho to lead them into war. Barça are looking strong. Valverde has given the cocktail shaker a rattle and the result is a team with a new coherence. Winning El Clásico in this day and age has elevated their status as true world beaters.