Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi won the Clasico; Real Madrid lost the league.
The champions needed to win this one but are now 14 points behind their great rivals after losing 3-0 and they can have no complaints.
Was it the early kick-off? Was it delayed jet-lag from their trip to Abu Dhabi to win the World Club Cup? Was it Zinedine Zidane’s over-caution? Whatever it was it will be a long second half of the season at Madrid unless they can beat Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League and go for a third straight European Cup.
Lionel Messi celebrates in front of the Bernabeu crowd once again after his penalty made it 2-0 to Barcelona in Madrid
Barcelona’s official Twitter account posted a photo of the team celebrating in the away dressing room at the Bernabeu
Suarez slotted home from Sergi Roberto’s pass to finish off a swift counter-attack and fire Barcelona into the lead
Messi doubled Barcelona’s advantage from the penalty spot as he scored his 54th goal of the calendar year for Barcelona
The Argentine jumps for joy as he found the back of the net once again at the home of Barcelona’s fiercest rivals
Barcelona players mob Messi as they took a huge step towards wrestling back the league title from with the El Clasico victory
Aleix Vidal, who had come on just a minute earlier, saw his shot trickle over the line to complete the scoring in added time
Real Madrid (4-4-2): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro (Asensio 72), Kovacic (Bale 72), Kroos, Modric; Benzema (Nacho 66), Ronaldo
Red card: Carjaval
Subs not used: Casilla, Theo Hernandez, Vazquez, Isco
Barcelona (4-4-2): ter Stegen; Roberto (Vidal 90), Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Busquets, Paulinho (Gomes 84), Iniesta (Semedo 77), Rakitic; Suarez, Messi
Goals: Suarez 54, Messi (pen) 64, Vidal 90
Booked: Vermaelen, Busquets
Subs not used: Denis Suarez, Cillessen, Mascherano, Digne
The surprise in Zidane’s line-up was the destructive Mateo Kovacic coming in for the creative Isco – it gave Madrid’s midfield a ‘dogs of war’ feel. Kovavic and Casemiro would take turns to smother Messi and Sergio Busquets and stop Barcelona playing. It did not work.
Sergio Ramos showed that recently-won Club World Cup to home supporters who unveiled a huge ‘White Christmas’ banner behind the goal; it will be a Blue Chirstmas after this result.
The early kick had taken some of the edge off the atmosphere but it’s never to early for Luis Suarez to complain to a linesman. He was right too when the referee’s assistant flagged him in error in Barcelona’s first attack.
Cristiano Ronaldo was lively early on and he should have scored on 10 minutes when Benzema squared to him in the area but he kicked fresh air instead and Iniesta scrambled the loose ball away injurying himself in the process.
The Spain midfielder recovered but was having trouble getting Barcelona playing. They were knocking it long to Suarez and Messi and it was not long before coach Ernesto Valerde was urging full-back Jordi Alba to move forward and give the team more width.
Barcelona seemed to be waiting for Madrid to take the game to them – it was the home side who needed the points after all – but they came out of their shell on the half hour and so nearly took the lead when Messi clipped a pass over the top and Paulinho didn’t waste anytime getting his volleyed shot away. Navas finger-tipped it away for a corner.
Madrid were left dejected as the reigning champions fell 14 points behind with the chastening home loss to Barcelona
Carjaval was shown a red card by referee Jose Sanchez for his troubles as Madrid went a man down against Barcelona
Dani Carjaval kept out Paulinho’s goalbound effort with his arm as Barcelona were awarded a penalty just past the hour mark
Messi lashed home the resulting penalty to compound Madrid’s misery and all but secure Barcelona’s triumph
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos showed off the FIFA Club World Cup trophy to the Bernabeu crowd before kick-off
Real Madrid responded immediately with a Ronaldo cross-shot that Marc Andre ter Stegen pushed away for a corner. Messi then crossed and Paulinho’s header was pushed away by Navas. Now the game was warming up.
Benzema was whistled for making the worst of a Real Madrid counter-attack but with Real Madrid’s next attack he flashed a header on to the post from Marcelo’s cross.
The last action of the first half saw Messi hit Ronaldo with a free-kick and then offer him his hand as the two teams went down the tunnel. They had embraced before the game started. It was all a bit too friendly.
In the second half Barcelona found some fight and Real Madrid failed to respond.
Messi lines up a free-kick but saw his effort blocked by Ronaldo in what was the final action of the opening period
Ronaldo kept out Messi’s free-kick with his face as he stood firm in the Madrid wall to deny Barcelona’s Argentine superstar
Ronaldo and Messi met in the pre-match handshakes as the superstars renewed their rivalry once again
Ronaldo saw an early effort chalked off for offside after just three minutes when he headed home a corner from Toni Kroos
Messi tries to get the better of Marcelo as Barcelona looked to establish a dominant lead at the top of La Liga table
Ronaldo is felled by a combination of Sergio Busquets (left), Andres Iniesta (centre) and Jordi Alba (right) in a midfield battle
Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved well with his left boot from Ronaldo to deny the Portuguese superstar the opening goal
The Ballon d’Or winner shows his frustration after Ter Stegen produced a smart save to keep out his low drive on 30 minutes
First Alba got in behind Real Madrid and Suarez shot the cross straight at Navas. It was a warning and on 54 minutes Barcelona had the lead. Before that Ramos should have been awarded his 25th career red card for Real Madrid when he thumped Suarez but was only cautioned. Suarez got his revenge.
Busquets started the move playing the ball forward to Ivan Rakitic and he sent it wide right to Sergio Roberto. The full-back’s cross found Suarez at the far post and he finished to give Barcelona the lead. Madrid had not reappeared after the interval and soon they were 2-0 behind and with a man less on the pitch.
Messi played in Suarez whose shot was saved by Navas. Suarez hit the post from the rebound and when it came out again Paulinho had the next shot that Carvajal saved with his hand. Paulinho bundled in the rebound but the referee gave a penalty and sent the Spain full-back off. Messi blasted the penalty past Navas and into the roof of the net.
Casemiro gets to grips with Messi during Saturday’s clash as the two rivals played out a goalless opening period in Madrid
Barcelona centre back Thomas Vermaelen, who was booked on 19 minutes, beats Casemiro to an aerial ball at the Bernabeu
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde shakes hands with his Real Madrid counterpart Zinedine Zidane before kick-off
Gerard Pique slides in to dispossess Kroos as Madrid enjoyed the better of the first half but failed to make the breakthrough
Substitute Gareth Bale went close to halving the deficit but was denied as Barcelona kept a clean sheet in Madrid
Gareth Bale had been waiting to come on but was sent back to sit-down. Two-nil down and now 14 points behind Real Madrid in the league for some reason Zidane still saw fit to bring on defender Nacho because of the sending off.
Bale and Marco Asensio finally came on with 20 minutes left. Bale was straight into the action and a fine save from Ter Stegen stopped him pulling a goal back. He went close with another shot and suddenly Madrid looked more dangerous but substitute Nelson Semedo then forced a fine save from Navas as Barcelona threatened on the break.
Barcelona found the third in injury time with Aleix Vidal scoring through a crowed penalty area. When time was called it was not just the end of the Christmas Clasico; it was probably the end of Real Madrid’s domestic season.