"Getting the ball to Cristiano when he's in this kind of form is like finding an alligator in the toilet bowl." So says Ray Hudson, broadcaster of BEIN Sport. It was a fine team effort, but some emphasis has still been placed on the individuals in the post-match reviews.
In his postmortem of the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid last night for The Guardian Sid Lowe touches on one particular angle: it could be the last of Jose Mourinho's Clásicos in the Camp Nou. What is Mourinho's legacy? If it was to be brought in at the height of Barcelona's strength and then be a catalyst in making them vulnerable: mission accomplished.
Clásicos have a habit of feeling definitive somehow, of giving way to sweeping judgments and bold calls, of eras ending. Often it is an exaggeration but for Barcelona the problems were evident on Tuesday night and it was hard to avoid the conclusion that they were about more than just one night.
For all Barcelona's possession – 63% – they rarely looked like scoring. La Vanguardia called the game a "debacle" and Barcelona "impotent". "Humiliation" is a word being used a lot. Marca saw the tables turning.
Jordi Alba's late goal, notes Lowe, was merely a consolation. Mourinho's head-to-head record against Barcelona with Madrid over three years is an example of the way in which statistics can lie:
Over the past six clásicos Madrid effectively claimed last season's league title in Barcelona, won a Spanish Super Cup over two legs, and have now reached the Copa del Rey final.
It was an evening when one of the more enduring images will be Raphaël Varane and Jose Mourinho jumping up and down together like school-boys after the third goal. On the subject of Varane: two Clásicos and two goals for the French teenager is another press angle. He's not even an international yet - but judging from L'Equipe's write-up there hasn't been a debut this anticipated in years. He's a defender who scores headers like Cristiano Ronaldo. And today he was the hero in the French sporting pages.
Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the headlines. Clearly the man of the match, scoring in his sixth consecutive visit to the Camp Nou (and thereby breaking his own record in the fixture) and scoring his second consecutive brace. He has now gone clear of Lionel Messi in the head-to-head goal-count in meetings between the two: twelve goals to eleven.
And finally: Iker Casillas. The skipper didn't play, but Mourinho broke with his customary habit of sending out Aitor Karanka after wins and sent out the captain. Casillas, watching from the stands, was delighted.
I'm not going to talk about Barça. My teammates were amazing. Defensively we were outstanding. We outplayed Barça in every area. I have to give my teammates a 10/10. Our approach to this match was perfect. From where I was sitting I saw a very serious and solid team. Tactically, Real had the better of Barcelona from start to finish.
We end this review with Alfredo Relaño, editorializing, as he has for the past three weeks, on the subject of the tie for As in his article: Cristiano Shows Everyone Who's Boss. Relaño devoted one editorial in the aftermath of the first leg to condemning the now-infamous Hyena video as a deception, a video designed to mask the fact that the first leg was a fine spectacle - a beautiful and entertaining game of football that was, on the pitch at least, devoid of controversy. A few days ago, Relaño also lamented the unnecessary focus on the referees from Barcelona's Assistant-coach Jordi Roura. Today he feels vindicated. The tie was wonderful to watch. Both legs were entertaining and a credit to the sport and to both teams. In addition -
Coming back to Barcelona, I feel that Roura's pre-match declarations about referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco were a mistake: the stand-in coach distracted his players from the game in hand and succeeded only in filling their heads with thoughts of protest towards the officials.
A final note. Cross-town rivals Atlético Madrid will join Real Madrid for a spot in the final after drawing Sevilla 2-2 this evening and going through 4-3 on aggregate. It will be the first Madrid Derby in a final in 21 years. It could be played at the Camp Nou, or so thinks Marca. It will be very dramatic no matter where it plays. The date is as yet undecided.