Real Madrid head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, during his side's 4-0 thrashing to Barcelona. / EFE

Crisis in the capital?

Real have had to deal with their thrashing by Barça

Rob Palmer
ROB PALMER

I'm not sure there is such a word as 'crisis-o-meter'? But if there is, it's just swung from Barcelona to Madrid.

In truth, Barcelona beating Real Madrid 4-0 on their own turf won't have any real effect in La Liga. Real should still cruise to the title and Barça's best chance of success is winning the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League.

It didn't stop Barca captain Gerard Pique proclaiming 'We are back' or the Spanish media debating whether Carlo Ancelotti is really the man for the job.

There is still an awful long way to go before Football Club Barcelona is back to its former self. The €1.35bn debt ensures they can't operate the way they did.

The victory does indicate that after a couple of years of dramatic decline, they are heading back in the right direction. Xavi has given them an identity again; the style of football is familiar and there is a newfound confidence. They are benefiting from their imaginative recruitment over the winter.

Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang may not have been the obvious signing but he's grabbing the headlines. He's already hit nine goals for his new club. Ferran is also regaining his confidence now he's back in his homeland.

The big bonus is the emergence of Araújo, who is proving to be a remarkable footballer. He marked Vinicius Júnior out of the game and when he was allowed some freedom, he added Real Madrid to a platinum goal collection, which includes Atlético, Sevilla and Granada. Many top European clubs are linked with the Uruguayan, but he should be the rock on which Barca's future is built.

In the capital there has been a week-long inquest. The euphoria of turning the PSG tie around has been forgotten as they recover from the humiliation of losing to their age-old rivals.

Ancelotti's future has been questioned. People soon forget how he's performed a footballing miracle to squeeze every ounce from a team well past it's sell-by date. The game did show how dependent Real are on Benzema.

They used to talk about a dependence on the magical Messi. I'd argue that Real Madrid are more reliant on the fantastic France striker. He's weighed in with thirty-two goals and thirteen assists so far this season.

His absence against Barcelona left a huge hole in the team. Ancelotti experimented by playing Modric in a more advanced role. He looked like a lost child in the Bernabéu. Ancelotti admitted that he often gets things wrong once, but never twice. It will sharpen his focus for the remainder of the season.

It does show that the intense rivalry is now back thanks to the incredible turnaround by Xavi.