Last night was the beginning of a crucible week for Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, as he seeks to leave a lasting imprint on the regal Spanish club. The week has started well.
On the other side of a Camp Nou, which was half empty by the time the referee mercifully brought the Copa del Rey semi-final to an end, Barcelona were humiliated in the midst of their own week of despair.
The Blaugrana may be coasting to La Liga glory, but many people will say that Los Blancos are the better team.
They were simply dazzling in their efficient display of counter-attacking power football last night, and effectively knocked the stuffing out of Barca before Jordi Roura’s rudderless XI knew what hit them.
Real have won all but one of their last six meetings with Barca, and if anything, Mou’s Madrid has managed to turn the tables on their Catalan rivals.
Barca’s 3-1 home defeat revealed worrying signs for the club, who are in danger of allowing what could have been an incredible season to turn into a (by their standards) average one.
Lionel Messi is enduring a slump in form, when his record breaking feats of the last few years are considered.
And perhaps more dangerously, they are proving to be easy to score against, with their centre-back pairing of Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique slower than society’s ability to wake up to the dangers of global warming.
Meanwhile, Madrid’s scorching pace simply set Barca on fire.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, and has now found the back of the net in six successive Camp Nou Clasicos. He is the Clasico King, and represents Real’s contemporary dominance over Barcelona.
He will guide Los Blancos into their Clasico clash in La Liga at the weekend high on confidence, even if the title is out of sight.
And he will surely inspire them as they seek to knock his old club, Manchester United, out of the Champions League next week.
After his exploits last night, Sergio Ramos has labelled CR7 the “best in the world.”
"Ronaldo is the best in the world, and he shows it in this type of game," Ramos told Real’s website.
Ronaldo meanwhile, cooed about the joys of beating Barca, and looked ahead to the next challenge.
"Beating Barca is always a source of great motivation," he told AS. "La Liga is less important because we are a lot of points behind, we need to look more at the cup and the Champions League, but certainly we will go there to do our best.”
As for Barca, who are suddenly a team under scrutiny, Roura blamed their comprehensive defeat on a “lack of wisdom.”
Throw in a lack of speed, game plan, leadership and cutting-edge, and Barca’s woes would be closer to a diagnoses.