Rarely has a Clasico been as predictable.
Pre-match talk in this Catalan city has all week been about how much, not if, Barcelona would win this epic fixture against their struggling bitter rivals.
In the end it was an annihilation, Luis Suarez helping himself to a hat trick squeezed in between Philippe Coutinho’s opener and Ousmane Dembele’s last goal in a 5-1 win.
Even without Lionel Messi, Real Madrid were always going to struggle after enduring a wretched start to life without Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Madrid side had had a five-match winless streak which only ended this week with a Uefa Champions League win over Plzen.
But even their staunchest of fans must have known as they made their way here that they faced defeat.
Not that there were many Real fans inside a raucous Nou Camp – La Liga organisers confirmed only 500 tickets would go to the opposition – as Barca fans propelled their side to a memorable victory.
But it must be said there were tense moments, not least after Marcelo had pulled one back for Real just after halftime.
Two-nil up after just 30 minutes through goals from Coutinho and Suarez, it was not until Suarez’s headed effort midway through the second half that Barca were able to relax.
They had endured a nerve-racking period in the aftermath of Marcelo’s goal – and Karim Benzema should really have brought them level but wasted a headed effort.
Buoyed by almost 100 000 fans, even the mighty Barca showed some panic as Real pushed exerted some pressure.
But Barca’s class shone through in murky, overcast and cold conditions on a day that Spain switched the clocks to winter time.
There was no turning back, however, from the moment Coutinho scored after being set up by Rafinha. Then the Suarez show began, the Uruguay striker converting a penalty and then scoring with a spectacular header.
His third was a dinked effort that sent the Nou Camp into delirium. At that stage Real had given up.
No wonder no one picked substitute Vidal as he planted a late header beyond keeper Thibaut Courtois.
- Matshe travelled to Barcelona as a guest of La Liga