Barcelona v Real Madrid: El Clasico player ratings

Barcelona beat Real Madrid 2-1 to go six points above their arch-rivals in the La Liga table.

Neymar's low finish and a sublime chip by Alexis Sanchez sent Real to a second defeat in four league games.

Real's Karim Benzema hit the bar before Jese Rodriguez scored a consolation in stoppage time.

Here's how our man in Spain rated the players.

BARCELONA

VICTOR VALDES (GOALKEEPER) - 8

Extremely composed all-round display from the in-form goalkeeper, crowned by two excellent saves from Sami Khedira and Cristiano Ronaldo when his team only led 1-0. Faultless.

ADRIANO (LEFT-BACK) - 6

Steady and reliable, the versatile Brazilian continued to deputise for the injured Jordi Alba with another unspectacular but efficient display.

GERARD PIQUE (CENTRE-BACK) - 6

An injury doubt before the game, Pique recovered to produce a solid display, making a couple of good aerial interventions but looking less comfortable against Karim Benzema towards the end.

JAVIER MASCHERANO (CENTRE-BACK) - 7

Typically tigerish outing from the converted midfielder, who has made a home for himself in Barca's back four in the last couple of years. Regularly showed good anticipation to break up Madrid possession.

DANI ALVES (RIGHT-BACK) - 7

Human dynamo who defended capably against Cristiano Ronaldo, largely reining in his attacking instincts until one majestic late run nearly resulted in a memorable third goal for his team.

SERGIO BUSQUETS (MIDFIELDER) - 6

Another disciplined performance from Barcelona's Mr Dependable in the centre of midfield, although he was unable to stem Madrid's dangerous burst of second half pressure.

XAVI (MIDFIELDER) - 7

As ever, linked the play superbly with a peerless range of passing. His legs might not be as quick as they used to be, but his brain is still the fastest in football.

ANDRES INIESTA (MIDFIELDER) - 7

Brilliant first half, passing to Neymar for the opener and doing superbly to release Lionel Messi a few minutes later. Later lost possession dangerously to Luka Modric and was nearly punished by Cristiano Ronaldo.

NEYMAR (FORWARD) - 8

Match-winning goalscoring performance from the Brazilian star, who benefitted from Lionel Messi's change of position to the right wing by having more room to express himself. Skilful, tenacious and tireless.

CESC FABREGAS (FORWARD) - 6

Worked hard in Lionel Messi's "false nine" position, linking up well with Andres Iniesta to help Barca control possession in the first half. Faded after the break and was replaced.

LIONEL MESSI (FORWARD) - 7

A more marginal figure than usual after being deployed on the right wing in a tactical shift, but still produced moments of threat without being able to reach his peak.

SUBSTITUTES

ALEXIS SANCHEZ (FORWARD) - 8

What more could a substitute do? The Chilean has been in excellent form this season and this was his crowning moment. As well as his goal, he showed pace, purpose and penetration down the right.

ALEX SONG (MIDFIELDER) - 6

Did everything required after appearing late on to help shore up the midfield, showing positional discipline to close down space in the centre of the pitch.

PEDRO (FORWARD) - 6

Ran around with his usual energy and commitment, continually harrying Madrid's defenders during the final stages.

REAL MADRID

DIEGO LOPEZ (GOALKEEPER) - 6

Had no chance with either goal and didn't do anything wrong throughout the game… but will still inevitably face calls for Iker Casillas's return.

DANI CARVAJAL (RIGHT-BACK) - 7

Unlucky with Neymar's goal and produced an energetic, dynamic performance against a very tough opponent. Justified his selection ahead of Alvaro Arbeloa.

RAPHAEL VARANE (CENTRE-BACK) - 7

Strong performance from the young Frenchman, who has only just returned from injury. Made some well-timed interventions in and around the penalty box.

PEPE (CENTRE-BACK) - 6

The Portugal international defended with sensible restraint and a cool head that was often lacking during compatriot Jose Mourinho's fiery reign.

MARCELO (LEFT-BACK) - 6

The Brazilian's usual attacking verve was greatly inhibited by the need to keep a close eye on Lionel Messi, who was unusually stationed on his wing. Solid enough in defence.

SERGIO RAMOS (MIDFIELDER) - 5

The experiment to field Ramos in the centre of midfield failed. Playing in an unfamiliar position, he was powerless to prevent Barca from dominating the first half and was soon subbed.

SAMI KHEDIRA (MIDFIELDER) - 6

The game passed him by during the opening period until he was unlucky to be denied an equaliser by Victor Valdes's fine save. More influential after the break.

LUKA MODRIC (MIDFIELDER) - 6

Like many of his team-mates, Modric grew gradually into the game and enjoyed a strong half-hour in the second period. Lovely pass to create a clear chance for Cristiano Ronaldo.

ANGEL DI MARIA (FORWARD) - 6

Lacked the spark of his recent performances but that was excusable considering the wholesale changes around him. Generally slightly disappointing set-piece deliveries.

GARETH BALE (FORWARD) - 4

A Clasico debut to forget for the Welshman. Employed as a central striker, Bale was utterly ineffective before being substituted. Shouldn't be too heavily criticised after being thrust into a new position with a new team when less than 100% fit.

CRISTIANO RONALDO (FORWARD) - 7

Although Ronaldo was his team's most dangerous player by a considerable distance, he lacked his usual menace, threatening only sporadically. Had one fierce shot and an ambitious penalty appeal waved away.

SUBSTITUTES

ASIER ILLARRAMENDI (MIDFIELDER) - 6

Introduced midway through the second period to establish control of possession in midfield, and looked far more comfortable than Sergio Ramos - not surprising as it's his regular position, unlike Ramos. Probably should have started.

KARIM BENZEMA (FORWARD) - 7

The Frenchman offered a vast improvement on Gareth Bale after being introduced and was very unfortunate not to end his two-month La Liga barren run with a thumping strike against the bar.

JESE RODRIGUEZ (FORWARD) - 7

Bright and lively, the young substitute gave his team some hope with a neat finish after running onto Cristiano Ronaldo's pass. Deserved more playing time.

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