Soccer

Real Madrid are the kings of today, but Barcelona are the kings of the season

xxxx during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on April 2, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

xxxx during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on April 2, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

Real Madrid beat Barcelona. If nothing else, they have that. And they might not have much else.

The match didn't matter in the table. Barcelona are still seven points clear of their rivals and six points in front of Atletico Madrid, so their title isn't really in doubt. Barcelona also look to have the brighter future and surely a more coherent plan going forward. But Real Madrid have this one win, which is nice.

The 90 minutes at the Camp Nou were Real Madrid's season in a nutshell.

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The start of the match was the start of Real's season

Barcelona looked the better side from the start, but it took them some time to make it show on the scoresheet. Luis Suarez missed a sitter, but the home side were still on the front foot. Finally, Gerard Pique scored and Barcelona had the advantage they deserved.

GOAAAAAL! @3gerardpique loses @officialpepe and SLAMS IN A HEADER! @FCbarcelona in the lead. #ElClasico https://t.co/awISUGBIsd

— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) April 2, 2016

It wasn't all too different than Real Madrid hiring Rafa Benitez prior to the season, seeing him clash with Cristiano Ronaldo and the team fail to impress throughout the fall. They fell out of the title race and only had the Champions League to look forward to. Barcelona raced in front and never looked back.

Real Madrid's mid-match turnaround was the hiring of Zinedine Zidane

Finally, Real Madrid got into the match. Everyone got on the same page and they went toe-to-toe with Barcelona. Then Karim Benzema pulled out a bit of magic with a brilliant overhead kick. It was spectacular, and the Merengues had found their feet again.

This. is. a. G-O-L-A-Z-O! @benzema take a bow. #ElClasico https://t.co/jcStcYkQUA

— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) April 2, 2016

Real Madrid found their feet this season when Zidane took over and ended the feuding and animosity in the dressing room. He also got the team to play somewhat reasonably, occasionally putting in a tackle and showing some recognition of the responsibility needed in transition. The wins piled up and there was hope again.

The final 10 minutes were the end of Real's season

Sergio Ramos picked up a red card he deserved much earlier. He was reckless all match and had several card-worthy offenses and in the 84th minute, the referee finally sent him off. It should have been a killer to Real Madrid, but instead they scored two minutes later. Ronaldo had come to their rescue and they were walking away with a 2-1 victory and three points at the Camp Nou, but three points that probably don't matter for anything other than pride.

Here's the replay for that @Cristiano goal #ElClasico https://t.co/1joFE6OskK

— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) April 2, 2016

For all of Real Madrid's fine play under Zidane, they still aren't going to catch Barcelona and they're big underdogs to win the Champions League too. No matter how many things they do well, and how many times Ronaldo saves them, the hole they dug themselves is still too big and the flawed squad Florentino Perez assembled is still too problematic.

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Real Madrid can be happy, and they should be. Their performance at the Camp Nou was excellent. But for all of their happiness, they don't look likely to win a trophy this season. Barcelona may not have been the kings on this day, but they will be kings of Spain by the end of the campaign and maybe even kings of Europe ... again.

Congratulations, Real Madrid. You have today. Barcelona will happily take every other day this season.