El Centrocampista

Classic el Clásico #4 – Real Madrid heap double trouble on Barcelona

Real Madrid celebrated their 2007/08 la liga title triumph with a double humiliation of Barcelona at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Having secured the crown with a 2-1 victory at Osasuna the previous weekend, Bernd Schuster’s side were afforded a guard of honour from their bitter rivals as they entered the pitch on 7 May 2008. If this wasn’t bad enough for Frank Rijkaard and his team, their night was to get worse. Much worse.

A majestic performance saw los blancos run out 4-1 winners in a game which left Barça (who featured five of this season’s side in the line-up) looking distinctly second-best. Club legend Raul gave the home side the lead when he curled a sweetly struck effort past Victor Valdes in the 14th minute.

Five minutes later and the home side had doubled their advantage as Arjen Robben found himself unmarked in the penalty area to head home from a Guti free-kick. Barça were in disarray, a performance which highlighted the problems Rijkaard had in a team that had won the Champions League just three years earlier.

It would later prove to be the Dutchman’s last clásico as he left the club following two more games against Mallorca and Murcia. Gonzalo Higuian made it 3-0 on the hour after good work down the right by Lass Diarra had left the Argentine the simple task of beating Valdes from close range.

Ruud van Nistelrooy made it four from the spot with ten minutes to go before Thierry Henry grabbed a late consolation goal for Barça. It had been a truly commanding performance from Schuster’s side, and was the perfect end to a season in which they had dominated from start to finish.

Barcelona could only manage a third-placed finish, just three points ahead of the chasing pack, and a whopping 18 points behind the champions. Despite lifting the title, Schuster went the same way as Rijkaard in December of the same year, when Juande Ramos was brought in to take over the side. Barça gambled on the other hand, choosing to hand  a shot at glory to the untried rookie and former-player, Josep Guardiola…

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