It was Xavi’s first Clasico as coach and he was determined to get off on the right foot. Starting Ronald Araujo at right-back to contain Vinicius Junior was a masterstroke and he deployed Frenkie de Jong in a role that managed to get the best out of him.
Xavi was caught in a moment of anger at one point after a loose ball, cogniscent that 90 minutes are a long time at the Santiago Bernabeu after Madrid’s comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League this month.
Barcelona are now 12 points behind La Liga leaders Madrid in the table but have a better points-per-game average than Los Blancos since Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman. They’re very much on an upward trajectory under the Catalan.