clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

3 stats from Barcelona 3-0 Real Madrid

A night to forget for Ancelotti’s young side

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Real Madrid fell to their first pre-season defeat of the 2023/24 campaign against rivals FC Barcelona in Texas as the Catalans ran out 3-0 winners in a tense Clásico which involved seven yellow cards between the two teams.

Ousmane Dembélé, linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, opened the scoring with an effort from distance, before Fermín López and Ferran Torres added a second and a third for the Culés late on following a series of changes to both teams by their coaches.

Here are three stats to help understand the game.

25.7: Average age of the starting XI

When Carlo Ancelotti’s line-up was confirmed publicly, some Madridistas may have been surprised to see the likes of Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić missing. Instead, the Real Madrid midfield had an average age of 22, with 25-year-old Fede Valverde the oldest player to play in front of the back four.

That youth and inexperience perhaps showed when 23-year-old Vinícius Júnior slammed a penalty against the woodwork on 20 minutes. It was his first career penalty, stepping up to replace Karim Benzema as the taker following his exit. The Brazilian has been seen practicing in training sessions in the US, but this was his first attempt in a real match environment. It must also be said that Rodrygo was the only other player on the field to have taken a spot kick for Real Madrid in a match, scoring all three of his attempts.

There was no such shortage of experience in defence, where only Éder Militão came in under the average age. In fact, all three of the over-30s in the line-up, Thibaut Courtois, David Alaba and Dani Carvajal, in the back five. At 28, Ferland Mendy was the only player on the field at “peak” age as some sports scientists would point to.

Substitutions showed that there is still plenty of life in Kroos and Modrić, as both played over half an hour with their introduction on 58 minutes. That change took the average age of the midfield diamond from 22 to 28.3. Kroos in particular stood out, registering two key passes during his cameo appearance.

In contrast, Barcelona fielded a line-up with an average age of 27.3 years. That experience may have told in some key moments. Even so, Barcelona’s veterans like Ilkay Gündogan and Robert Lewandowski were relatively quiet for the Catalans, with the battle of the young blood adding to the intensity of the first 60 minutes or so.

29: Shots from Real Madrid, compared to Barça’s 12

It would be fair to say that the scoreline from this game did not reflect the chances and dominance of play enjoyed by Real Madrid. Without going any further than this alone, the shots count showed that Real Madrid had more than twice as many shots as their rivals but still failed to convert.

It’s also a message to Real Madrid. Five goals in two games had eased concerns about a post-Benzema future and where goals could come from, but there is still work to be done. Vini alone had an incredible 11 attempts, with three hitting the woodwork but only one on target. Rodrygo had another five. Joselu registered two in only 17 minutes. There were chances for Real Madrid, who broke through the defence with the best record in LaLiga in 2022/23 time and time again, but they failed to convert.

Chances were generally of good quality, with 16 inside the box compared to just seven for Barça, but they weren’t finished off. Of 29 attempts, only five were on target and forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into action. Four more hit the woodwork. That 17.2% shot accuracy compared to 58.3% from the Catalans and told the difference.

Territorially, Real Madrid also dominated. 35% of the game was played in Barcelona’s defensive third, compared to 21% in Real Madrid’s. All the ingredients were there for Ancelotti’s side, but the recipe didn’t quite come off.

14.2%: Real Madrid’s win rate in Clásico friendlies

This was the fifth Clásico to take place outside of Spanish soil, and Barcelona had previously won three. Real Madrid’s most recent victory came after extra time in the Super Cup in January 2022, when Fede Valverde scored a third to make it 3-2 in the extra 30 minutes. As such, Real Madrid’s wait to beat Barcelona outside of Spain in 90 minutes will go beyond 41 years. The last time was May 30th, 1982, when Vicente del Bosque scored the only goal in a 1-0 win in Barquisimeto in Venezuela.

Those in Dallas hoped to witness history to see Real Madrid beat Barcelona in US territory for the first time but were ultimately disappointed as Real Madrid remain without ever collecting a win against their Catalan opponents in three friendly fixtures since 2017.

This was also the 42nd meeting in so-called exhibition matches, and Real Madrid’s record in such matches is poor, with only six victories. Of the previous 41, there had been 12 draws and 23 Barça wins. That means a 14.2% win rate for Real Madrid, way below the 40.2% ratio for competitive action. It’s quite clear who these friendly fixtures really matter to, though if you ask Xavi it will almost certainly depend on what kind of mood he’s in.

Attentions will now turn to the first scheduled competitive Clásico of the season, when Real Madrid travel to Montjuïc in late October in LaLiga. That is when Ancelotti will really be gearing up for, and he may hope to have another transfer addition to help his team avoid wasting quite so many chances in front of goal.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Managing Madrid Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Real Madrid news from Managing Madrid