Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi missed out on his side's 5-1 thrashing of Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season at Camp Nou. Though, the 31-year-old was in stands as he witnessed his attacking partner in crime Luis Suarez run riot, scoring a hat-trick and demolishing Los Blancos.
Moving on from the disappointment of not being able to feature in the grand fixture, Messi celebrated the huge win with his teammates. On his official Instagram handle, he expressed his happiness of the victory, and shared a picture of him having wine with the man of the match, Suarez.
The fixture was the first to not feature either of Lionel Messi, injured, or Cristiano Ronaldo, now at Juventus, since 2009. But the absence of the top two players in the world did not hamper arguably the biggest game of the season.
Luis Suarez took centrestage, scoring a sensational hat-trick to pile misery on Blancos manager Julen Lopetegui, who now looks on the brink of getting sacked, just months after leaving Spain's job and taking over at the club.
The home side made the best possible start, with Philippe Coutinho opening the scoring in the 11th minute after some wonderful play by full back Jordi Alba, who played a sublime cutback to put the ball on the plate for the Brazilian.
Having taken the lead, Barcelona didn't hold back, and kept on attacking a dejected Madrid side. And the pressure paid off on the half hour mark, as the hosts doubled their lead.
In the 28th minute, Suarez was tripped in the box by Rafael Varane. The referee initially gave nothing, though, after taking help of the VAR, pointed to the spot. Having won the penalty, Suarez comprehensively converted the chance.
The first half went by in a similar manner, with Barcelona creating one chance after another, but failing to take it. And it seemed the missed opportunities will haunt them, after Blancos got one back early in the second half.
Good play on the right by Lucas Vazquez and Isco meant a ball coming into the Barcelona box. The defence failed to deal with and Marcelo got a chance to shoot, and he took it aplomb. It was a much needed confidence boost for Blancos, who sensed a chance to stage a comeback. But it wasn't to be!
With the game reaching its final quarter, Barcelona regained their two-goal lead, with Suarez getting his second for the day. It came after a good cross from Sergi Roberto, which was headed perfectly inside the goal by Suarez.
At 3-1, Madrid put their everything up front, and were made to pay. On the counter, Barcelona made it 4-1, and Suarez got his hat-trick, before substitute Arturo Vidal put gloss on the scoreline by scoring his first Clasico goal.