Real Madrid have their work cut out in the Spanish La Liga after a crushing 3-0 defeat to arch rivals Barcelona at the Santiago Bernebeu left their title defence in tatters.
Zinedine Zidane’s side enjoyed the better part of the first half but failed to take advantage of the few chances that came their way apart from a Karim Benzema header that crashed off the outer part of the post.
Brazilian midfielder Paulinho had the best chance of the half for his side but he was thwarted by Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas as both sides played out a goalless affair at the interval.
Barcelona were much improved at the start of the second half and their territorial dominance paid off with nine minutes on the clock after Sergi Roberto teed up Luis Suarez for the opening goal.
The game’s turning point took place nine minutes later after Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal was sent off for handling Paulinho’s header on the line.
Argentine superstar Lionel Messi made no mistake as he netted the penalty for his 25th El Clasico goal to put Barcelona 2-0 up before substitute Aleix Vidal wrapped up the victory with the third goal in added time.
Barcelona have now won three consecutive El Clasico league matches at the Bernebeu with the convincing victory to move 14 points clear of their opponents.
League Table (Points)
1. Barcelona 45
2. Atletico Madrid 36
3. Valencia 34 (one game at hand)
4. Real Madrid 31 (one game at hand)