Inside Spain: Real Madrid make history in El Clasico and Barcelona stuck in parallel universe

Inside Spain is a weekly instalment brought to you by Football España, providing an insight into all of the major stories coming out of the rich and intense climes of La Liga and beyond.

Real Madrid made history on Wednesday night with a 4-0 victory over Barcelona in El Clasico, seeing them through to the Copa del Rey final for the first time in nine years. Those fours goals were the most they had scored in over 50 years. Don Carlo Ancelotti, under heavy pressure, has been vindicated.

His dressing room speech after the match went viral, as the celebrations kicked off in style. News has emerged that his assistant and son Davide Ancelotti will leave in the summer, which further gave credence to the idea that Ancelotti senior might leave in the summer, but with Real Madrid still in the running for a Copa del Rey and Champions League double, uncertainty reigns at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ominously, Karim Benzema now has two hat-tricks in his last two games with Chelsea on the horizon.

They will face Osasuna in the final, after they beat Athletic Club 2-1 on aggregate. With five minutes to go in extra time, Pablo Ibanez pulled out a dream volley to send Pamplona wild. It is just the second in their 102-year history.

Pablo Ibanez was playing in the third tier a little over two years ago when he was signed for Osasuna’s B team. On Tuesday, he put them in the cup final.

Meanwhile Barcelona, licking their wounds from the Copa del Rey, have plenty of other things to distract themselves with. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has been making a number of noises suggesting that they will come after the club for El Caso Negreira, which could lead to what would be a catastrophic expulsion from Europe. Equally they have been in a war of words with La Liga President Javier Tebas, with Barcelona demanding Tebas’ resignation with a remarkable statement, while Tebas threatens to sue a closely linked Catalan newspaper.

On the other side of things, Lionel Messi looks increasingly as if he will not renew with Paris Saint-Germain, and Barcelona have publicly confirmed they want to bring him back. Nobody quite knows how they are going to afford it, but they seem keen to plough ahead. The cynic will tell you it is all a smokescreen to distract from the above.

Meanwhile at the bottom, Espanyol sacked their manager Diego Martinez as they slipped into the relegation zone. They brought in Luis Garcia Fernandez, a former captain from RSC International. Never heard of them? That’s because they are a remarkable four divisions below La Liga, in what is the biggest jump anyone can remember. Ronaldo Nazario also sacked his manager Pacheta to bring in Paulo Pezzolano, previously of the other club he owns, Cruzeiro. With eight points between 11 team from 9th to 19th, part of you wonders if it’s just hope.


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