Barcelona crumble ‘with no soul’ to anger Xavi and ‘give Real Madrid life’ | Sid Lowe

Real’s failure to beat 10-man Atlético gave the leaders the chance to go 10 points clear – but Almería spoiled the party

“This is not goodbye to the league,” Carlo Ancelotti said but no one was really listening and even he didn’t sound sure, not yet. Saturday evening at the Santiago Bernabéu and it was done. Real Madrid had just drawn 1-1 with Atlético, leaving Barcelona to slip out of sight at the top, the only winners those watching in a city 600km away. If this was Diego Simeone’s final derby in the capital, the underwhelming final chapter in a rivalry he revived and suffered like no one else, a once epic series slowing to a close, he could at least depart having denied Real the title, his 10 men taking their hopes away. Or so it goes.

Instead, it turned out Ancelotti was right; turned out Thibaut Courtois was too. Twenty-four hours is a long time in football: down Real Madrid’s way, 24 seconds is. And by the following evening Barcelona had lost and it was back on again.

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