A Luis Suarez hat-trick saw a rampant Barcelona rout Real Madrid in a result that piles pressure on beleaguered Real coach Julen Lopetegui and sees the club continue their worst start to a season in nearly two decades.
Much of the talk heading into the game had centered on the absence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from the fixture for the first time in 11 years – with the Barca skipper missing out through injury and Ronaldo now playing in new Italian pastures.
But Messi strike partner Suarez stepped spectacularly into the void to mean the biggest storyline to emerge from an ultimately resounding defeat will now be Lopetegui’s future, as Real’s worst start to a season in 17 years was compounded by their greatest rivals.
If the Real players had been fired up before the game to save their ailing manager, they certainly didn’t show it as they found themselves behind after 11 minutes, when Philippe Coutinho swept home from a Jordi Alba cross as Real were caught cold on the counter attack.
The hosts continued to dominate, with Real restricted to long rage efforts from Gareth Bale, Marcelo, and skipper Sergio Ramos – none of whom troubled Marc-André ter Stegen.
Perhaps sensing the could be playing out their final half of football under Lopetegui, Real roused themselves after the break.
Marcelo pulled one back on 50 minutes by poking home from eight yards after Barca failed to clear a cross, showing Los Blancos were not ready to raise the white flag.
Arturo Vidal added a fifth – his first for the club – on 87minutes, as Real’s humiliation was confirmed.