Even El Clasico is not sacrosanct from the Americanisation of pre-season as Barcelona and Real Madrid boosted their brands not just by packing out another stadium in Miami, but by delivering a thrilling 90 minutes worthy of the Clasico name as Gerard Pique’s winner titled the spoils in Barca’s favour by three goals to two.
Other than the absent Cristiano Ronaldo, all the stars were on show as Neymar lined up alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez for possibly the last time and showed Barca what they will be missing, should he jump ship to PSG for a world record fee, with two assists.
The first of those came in a blistering Barca start as Lionel Messi opened the scoring before Neymar’s pass was drilled into the bottom corner by Ivan Rakitic inside seven minutes.
How Real Madrid could line up next season
Zinedine Zidane admitted his fury with Madrid’s “lack of concentration” from the off. The European champions have often given the impression on tour that their minds are still on the beach after sealing a first La Liga and Champions League double for 59 years last season, but they did at least show some fight to level before half-time.
Mateo Kovacic started the revival with a fine solo run and strike before he and Marco Asensio combined to counter-attack from a Barca corner with Asensio building on his burgeoning reputation with a cool finish.
In truth, though, Barca should still have been well ahead at the break as Messi and Neymar missed guilt-edged chances and Real’s leaky defence was posted missing again minutes after the break when Pique was left completely unmarked to prod home Neymar’s free-kick.
No Neymar, no show
When Neymar went down under apparently no contact inside the first two minutes, the heist of he and Barca completing their contractual obligations for him to feature but not properly looked a possibility.
Instead, it was 70 minutes later he departed the field after another performance which underlined why Barca are terrified to lose him. Yes, there was some wayward finishing that should have seen him add to his three goals on tour, but his pace, trickery and eye for a pass were all fully on show.
Neymar’s performance showed why Barcelona are petrified to lose him this summer (Getty)
It was not the display of a man throwing in the towel on his Barca career, but a distance between he and the rest of his teammates is beginning to emerge.
After storming off in a training ground bust up with Nelson…