Real Madrid star Federico Valverde rubbed salt into Barcelona's wounds by mocking Lionel Messi's iconic goal celebration after his extra-time winner clinched a spot in the Spanish Super Cup final.
Real eventually ran out 3-2 winners over their beleaguered rivals but it took over 120 minutes to separate the two sides in one of the most exciting El Clasico meetings in recent memory.
Vinicius Junior had fired Real into an early lead before Luuk de Jong levelled for Barca. Karim Benzema then netted to put Real back in front but a late goal from Ansu Fati sent the game into extra-time.
It was Valverde who had the final say after slotting in from close-range.
The Uruguayan midfielder celebrated by holding his shirt aloft in front of the fans – just as Messi had famously done in previous El Clasico clashes.
Despite coming up short, Barcelona held their own and arguably did better than people had expected.
Real may be clear at the top of La Liga in a two-horse race with Sevilla for the title, but Barca are in the midst of a huge rebuilding job due to their ongoing financial difficulties.
New boss Xavi Hernandez has been tasked with trying to overhaul a sub-par playing squad whilst continuing to challenge for honours.
What did you make of the latest El Clasico clash? Let us know in the comments section.
As well as a string of sub-par signings in recent years, Barcelona have also had to adapt to life without their talisman after Messi left the club to join PSG in the summer.
But performances have improved under the legendary Barca midfielder lately.
And Xavi was adamant that his side should have got a result against their old foes.
"I’m sad and upset because the game was there for the taking," the Barca chief said. "We had a bit of a complex at the start but once we got over that I think we were better than Madrid.
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"We took a lot of risks but that is the right path for us to become competitive. We can be proud. We are on the right path. But I’m sad because we wanted to be in the final. I’m not upset about the performance though.
"It was our errors that let us down. We have to be more responsible with the ball and we did not deal with the counter attacks. But we will grow from this. We can compete with anyone."
Last season's La Liga champions Atletico Madrid will face Athletic Bilbao on Thursday to determine who will face Real Madrid in the final on Sunday in Riyadh.
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