Barcelona 5-1 Real Madrid match report: El Clásico
Barcelona's Luis Suárez stepped up in the absence of Messi to score a hat-trick against Real Madrid. Coutinho and Vidal got the other two. Marcelo scored at the start of the second half.
Barcelona 5-1 Real Madrid: match report
Julen Lopetegui said he expected to be still breathing after the Clásico but Barcelona were giving not a single breath to the idea of being beaten by Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday night.
With no Messi, it was Luis Suárez who stole the show with a hat-trick and he could have had four with Real Madrid falling apart as the seconds ticked by.
Casemiro summed it up when he said "we are a disaster" after the game and despite a brief, bright spell at the start of the second half, this was abject from los Blancos as they fought for their manager's job.
The writing was on the wall after Jordi Alba streaked down the field and played the ball back to Coutinho, who had plenty of time to settle, readjust and slot home beyond a scrambling Real Madrid back line.
Real Madrid had no time to readjust, however, as their previous principles of possession and control went out the window. Barcelona were throwing the ball around and Real Madrid's attack was almost non-existent with a number of harmless long rangers the sum of their attacking success.
Raphael Varane, who was carrying an injury from the middle of the first half, was caught out by a savvy Suarez when he nipped in front of the defender and he kicked his calf. The referee had doubts but VAR restored his clarity as he returned from the booth and pointed to the spot.
The Uruguayan brushed himself off and slotted beyond Courtois despite the Belgian's best efforts.
Changes were needed for Real Madrid or there was every chance this would turn into a memorably embarrassing performance for them. Lucas Vazquez came on at the break for Varane and he did start to influence play.
At rhe start of the second half, it seemed like Real Madrid had survived their worst nightmare and figured it couldn't get any worse. They were playing with pomp and had a response within five minutes of the restart. It came down the right and Isco squared. Marcelo chested it to himself, found his compsure and slotted it home to give los Blancos a fighting chance.
It gave Barcelona a jumpstart to though and after Modric hit the base of the post when he probably should have score, it was as close as Real Madrid would come to smelling success.
Luis Suarez made it 3-1 on 75 minutes when Dembele found Roberto and he had oceans of space to cross to Suarez. His precise header looped beyond Courtois and the floogates opened. It was 4-1 when Suarez recieved another pass from Roberto after Ramos chested the ball into his path. Like a man with plenty of confidence to spare, he chipped over the oncoming Courtois to finish the game as a contest.
Arturo Vidal, the substitue who had just come on, headed home to make it five just minutes later as Real Madrid heads hung and the Camp Nou rocked.
Heads will roll in Madrid for this performance and result and while Isco said Florentino Perez will have to start sacking players too if he fires the coach, that might be starting to sound like a good idea for the president.
Barcelona are back top of the league and Real Madrid are back to the drawing board after this beating in Barcelona.
Barcelona - Real Madrid live online: live match updates
Barcelona - Real Madrid live online: El Clásico preview
Regardless of the circumstances, it feels like the build-up to El Clásico lasts weeks. Given what has happened in both camps over the last number of weeks, however, we might be entering into the most unpredictable clash between these two Spanish giants in recent years. Cristiano Ronaldo is gone, Lionel Messi is injured and it's the first Clásico without either since 2007. Julen Lopetegui's job hangs by a thread despite the trouble Real Madrid went through and his sacrifice to sit on the bench for the club. Ernesto Valverde hasn't convinced for Barcelona with just one win in five games in the league for Barcelona and the spotlight, more than usual, is on the two coaches with no standout player to focus on.
For the home side, Lionel Messi is obviously the big miss. Attention has turned from the Argentinian wizard to who will replace him, and also a surprising statistical look at how Barca are better without him. Ousmane Dembele started the season in cracking form but has fallen off as concern continues to grow over the French record signing. He is in the squad but Rafinha could start ahead of him and Arthur has been stealing headlines too with his powerful displays in midfield. Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are out and Clement Lenglet will start in defence with more questions over Sergi Roberto and where rather than if he will play.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are missing Ronaldo and will be gone from the Santiago Bernabeu a lot longer than Messi will be from the Camp Nou. The Portuguese's absence is permanent and there are plenty of players who need to step up their performances in his stead. And his goals are being missed. The debate continues as to whether it will be a 4-4-2 with Isco, which they played against Roma and provided their best display of the season. Alvaro Odriozola has failed to impress and Nacho could start at right back after Lucas Vazquez started there against Viktoria Plzen midweek during a meek showing by Real Madrid in which they won 2-1. Varane, after a horror show against Levante, should return and Marcelo trained fully and should be ready. The question after all of those other questions, or maybe before them is what Lopetegui needs to do to keep his job with this date being marked in the diary for quite some time as the day of reckoning.