The FC Barcelona vice captain rarely misses a chance to showoff his skill, especially if the opportunity at hand is the first Clásico of the season. The midfield maestro completed nearly 98% of his passes as he set the tempo of the match. Nearly every one of Barça’s attacking plays was graced by the midfielder’s touch. In addition to dictating the pace of the match, Xavi put the game beyond the reach of a struggling Real Madrid when he slotted the ball into the back of the net for Barça's third goal.
Don Andrés was the man of the match. Just hours before the game, Nike unveiled a new ad featuring the Spaniard as a master puppeteer and it wouldn’t be surprising if you thought you were watching a rerun of the spot as Iniesta worked his magic against Los Blancos tonight. In addition to his 85.3% passing completion rate, the midfielder supplied the assist to Xavi for the 3-1, was brought down in the area by Sergio Ramos for a penalty - that was later coveted by Messi - and added incalculable value to Barça’s overall play.
Busquets is rarely mentioned on in the same breath as the above two players, but his brilliance, albeit not as evident as Messi or Iniesta’s, needs to be commended. The Catalan who was once heralded as the best defensive midfielder in the world by Pep Guardiola, read tonight’s game like book. He performed his role brilliantly as the pivotal transition piece between Barça attack and defence.
There is very little to say about Messi that hasn’t already been said. However, after tonight’s game the Argentine once againplayed himself into the history books. After Iniesta was brought down in the area by Sergio Ramos, Messi scored the goal that gave Barça a 2-1 lead and in the same stroke became the Club’s all-time highest scorer against Real Madrid.