Piqué, the ubiquitous ‘enfant terrible’
So a decaffeinated El Clásico they claimed! In truth what we got was a bustling game played at a high pace and with tension in abundance which threw up four goals and plenty of and plenty of talking points. Despite the fact that Barça are already been proclaimed league champions there was plenty of honour on the line in a game, as always watched by a massive global audience. Real Madrid were anxious to get one over on their eternal rivals as they certainly don't want the Catalan side establish the record of going through a modern-day season unbeaten. Barça managed to keep that record on track with just three LaLiga 2017/18 games remaining and have now overcome the biggest hurdle and did so playing one half with just ten men.
Guard of honour
This feat goes some way in explaining the jubilation felt by Valverde's side after the match as they treated their fans with a lap of honour as double winners and as a tribute to the soon to depart Andres Iniesta. Gerard Piqué called upon the Barça staff to stand for the now infamous "guard of honour" after Madrid squad members made it clear that they were not prepared to do so. This, I felt was a bridge too far, as once again Gerard Piqué revelled in his role of chief provocateur happy to squeeze as much as he could from the whole "guard of honour" business. So many people lap up this subtle provocation, but for me I'd like to see less of these shenanigans. Pique is a fine player and an example on the pitch, less so away from it.
An excellent El Clásico was only tainted by a sub performance by the match official as I'm sure Hernández Hernández anticipated a more placid evening at Camp Nou. Tension between Sergio Ramos and Luis Suárez just before the break set the tone for what was to come as the referee then proceeded to miss clear fouls and lost control of the unfolding contest. It's now apparent that the game was of such a magnitude as Hernández Hernández was clearly unable to impose his personality and restore order to proceedings with the players themselves doing little on their side to aid the situation with the game becoming more reckless as the match official got weaker.
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