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Initial Reactions: Real Madrid 0 - 4 Barcelona, El Clásico

The worst clasico performance since the manita

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

They say that calling for a managers head after one loss is a knee-jerk reaction. Two consecutive losses? Probably more of the same. But when you factor in that Real Madrid tonight were obliterated to the point that they looked like an amateur football team in a way that Rafa's predecessor - Carlo Ancelotti - never did, a call for a sacking is rightfully gaining momentum.

Tonight Rafa wrote an incredible book: How to lose against Barcelona - a definitive guide of making sure you get dominated in every aspect of the game by your arch rivals.

  1. Real Madrid let Barcelona play with comfort. There is a common trait with all of Real Madrid's clasico wins in the past half-a-decade, it's that they pressure high up the pitch and suffocate Barcelona's back-line when they have the ball, which often leads to winning the ball back and throwing Barcelona off their game. Apart from a few brief patches of doing this tonight - where, lo-and-behold, it worked - Real Madrid didn't bother to put pressure on Barca who were in troll-mode for 90 minutes passing the ball with acres of space against a disinterested, disengaged, and lethargic Madrid. 

  2. Ronaldo not tracking. I was on Twitter often tonight, and it occurred to me that no one really mentioned anything about Ronaldo's defense. When Barcelona had the ball, Ronaldo was walking. The best (worst) example of this: He could have easily cut off a passing lane en-route to Iniesta's goal, but didn't bother.

  3. This could be an entire chapter in Rafa's book written today: the transition from defence to attack was non-existent. Modric, James, and Kroos were in areas of the pitch the weren't conducive to the flow. Self-explanatory picture and the reason why the defensive line had no outlets to pass to:

  4. Danilo was a walking corpse. He should have been taken off at half-time for Carvajal. I've been a big defender of Danilo, but tonight, he was not a footballer. He couldn't pass, dribble, defend - he was a disaster.

  5. Say what you want about Carlo Ancelotti, but he never had a game like this where he was thoroughly embarrassed. With a few differences in the team, he completely suffocated Barcelona in last year's Clasico at the Bernabeu with the same midfield trio of Modric - Kroos - James. Tonight, it wasn't so much Rafa's line-up choice that was his undoing, but his tactics. There are very few times I would consider sacking a coach this early into a season, but if tonight's pillaging wasn't ample proof that Real Madrid will not win anything with Benitez, then I'm not sure what else you need in order to be convinced. Cut the ties now.

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