Real Madrid v Barcelona: El Clasico player ratings
El Clasico served up a football feast with Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick in Barcelona's thrilling 4-3 win over Real Madrid.
As is often the case when the Spanish giants meet, the game was littered with controversy as Sergio Ramos was sent off and the three penalties awarded were all disputed.
But Messi's precision from two of the spot-kicks won the game, meaning he outshone Cristiano Ronaldo, as Barcelona closed to within a point of title rivals Real and Atletico Madrid.
Here's how Spanish football writer Andy West rated the players:
Diego Lopez (goalkeeper) - 6
Despite conceding four goals, he was in the paradoxical situation of having relatively little to do and certainly stood no chance with any of Barcelona's strikes. Even so, he may now face renewed calls for Iker Casillas's return to the side.
Dani Carvajal (right-back) - 6
Attacking impact was largely restricted by the necessity of keeping track of Andres Iniesta down Barcelona's left, but was probably at fault for the opener as he wandered inside to create space for Iniesta to score.
Pepe (centre-back) - 6
As always, a thoroughly committed performance from the Portuguese battler, who largely performed solidly but lost his cool when confronting Cesc Fabregas after the visitors' second goal.
Sergio Ramos (centre-back) - 6
Can consider himself unlucky to be sent off after Neymar ran across him inside the penalty area. Certainly a penalty, but there was little he could do to avoid contact and a straight red card looked harsh.
Marcelo (left-back) - 7
A bundle of energy down Madrid's left wing, especially during their sensational 20 minutes midway through the opening period, and also did well to subdue fellow Brazil international Neymar.
Xabi Alonso (midfield) - 6
A relatively quiet performance from the pass master, who was unable to exert his usual calming influence because of the fast and frantic nature of the game. Conceded the late match-winning penalty with an ill-advised challenge on Iniesta.
Luka Modric (midfield) - 6
Flitted in and out of the game, producing some nice touches but finding himself understandably unable to prevent Barca from controlling the midfield after his team were reduced to 10 men.
Angel Di Maria (midfield) - 8
Extremely unlucky to be on the losing side, Di Maria was sensational in the opening period. Brilliantly created two goals for Karim Benzema and his movement, trickery and incisiveness was never properly contained by the visitors.
Gareth Bale (forward) - 6
Produced moments of excitement - especially with a thrilling surge deep into Barca territory early in the second half - but wasn't consistently enough involved in the game and notably faded towards the end.
Cristiano Ronaldo (forward) - 6
A disappointing performance from the Portuguese ace, whose only notable contribution was winning and converting a penalty to send his team 3-2 ahead. Has been brilliant in recent months, but not on Sunday.
Karim Benzema (forward) - 7
An injury doubt before the game, the Frenchman scored twice but should have had more, seeing one shot cleared off the line and missing two excellent chances. Sacrificed for defender Raphael Varane after Ramos was sent off.
Raphael Varane (centre-back) - 6
Introduced alongside Pepe after Ramos was sent off, and had a difficult job in attempting to maintain defensive solidity as the visitors exploited their extra man to dominate possession.
Isco (midfield) - 5
Came on for the exhausted Di Maria in the last five minutes but didn't have the chance to shine.
Alvaro Morata (forward) - 5
The young striker was thrown on in stoppage time but didn't get a meaningful touch of the ball.
Victor Valdes (goalkeeper) - 5
Making his last league Clasico appearance before his impending departure from Barcelona, but didn't enjoy the happiest of personal performance. He should have saved Benzema's first goal and his distribution was below usual standards.
Dani Alves (right-back) - 7
Did well to restrict Ronaldo's threat - with the exception of Madrid's controversial penalty - and also got forward to good effect, notably with a fizzing strike which beat Lopez but crashed against the post.
Gerard Pique (centre-back) - 7
Defended with composure, even when all around him was floundering during Madrid's hot spell during the first half. Made a possibly game-saving goal-line clearance to deny Benzema a hat-trick when the hosts led 2-1.
Javier Mascherano (centre-back) - 5
Occasionally looked at sixes and sevens against the movement of Benzema and Di Maria, serving a reminder that he is a converted midfielder. Gave his all but Barca desperately need to buy a quality centre-half this summer.
Jordi Alba (left-back) - 6
Solid in defence against the threat of Bale, but less exuberant in his attacking play than usual - doubtless under instruction from boss Tata Martino to subdue his forward bursts in order to keep Bale quiet.
Sergio Busquets (midfield) - 6
Similar to Alonso, this game was so open it really did not suit holding defensive midfield players. Played a greater role in establishing Barca's passing game when they had a man's advantage following Ramos's red card.
Xavi (midfield) - 6
Although his passing remains peerless, ageing legs mean he's unable to influence play as much as he used to. Left for dead by Di Maria in the build-up to Madrid's second goal and was at times overrun.
Andres Iniesta (midfield) - 7
Sumptuously taken early goal and an elusive presence on Barca's left wing throughout the game, often dropping deeper to create an extra man in midfield. Fizzed a sensational half-volley inches over the bar and won the decisive late penalty.
Neymar (forward) - 5
Not a great performance from the Brazilian, who played with a lack of conviction betraying his current lack of confidence. He never gave up, though, and was involved in the game's pivotal moment to win a penalty and a red card for Ramos.
Cesc Fabregas (forward) - 7
Did well to provide the link between midfield and attack for Barca and played a part in the build-up to his team's first two goals. Also created a good first half chance for Messi with a through ball.
Lionel Messi (forward) - 8
A match-winning hat-trick display from the Argentine, who also provided the assist for Iniesta's opener and a brilliant pass for the penalty won by Neymar. Bright and lively all night, getting into positions where Madrid felt uncomfortable and showing composure under pressure to convert two unstoppable penalties.
Pedro (forward) - 6
Came on for Neymar and ran his heart out for the team, as he always does, switching from the right to the left flank after Alexis Sanchez came on.
Alexis Sanchez (forward) - 6
Could have added a late fifth goal but lacked composure and failed to make clean contact with his strike.