Written by Travis Clark

Few rivalries in club football seem to showcase everything about the beautiful game quite like El Clasico does.

And Sunday’s iteration was no different, showcasing the best and worst of the world’s most popular sport — it had glorious goals, ridiculous histrionics, wailing at officiating, moments of breathtaking beauty, while featuring arguably the game’s best players in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona ultimately triumphed thanks for a pair of second half penalties, as Messi’s hat trick wrote a new chapter in an already peerless career. Official highlights are above. And check out the top of La Liga’s standings after the jump.

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Written by Will Parchman

Ten years ago today, after being purchased from Argentina for a whistled tune and a jaunty dance, Messi won his first appearance for Barca B. This is footage from that fabled game. As for the fun translation of the description, to the machine!

“On March 6, 2004, in a game against the Miniestadi Mataró, an Argentinian 16 year old made ​​his debut with the Barcelona branch. Barça B won 1-0 and Messi, who played 90 minutes, left several details that, later, would be at the Camp Nou and in the best arenas worldwide.

Interestingly, Leo Messi had already debuted in a friendly match with the first team five months earlier. The November 16, 2003 the now ’10 ‘Barca had faced his first start against Porto FC Barcelona. Its official debut arrive on October 16, 2004, in the field of Espanyol.”

 

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Written by Will Parchman

From time to time here on The 91st Minute, we like to shine the light on development. That’s never served better than when these Barcelona youth videos pop up. There’s just something about watching a toddler in a Barca jersey ripping in a mini-golazo on a mini-goal that brings the joy.

In any case, to get you through your hump day, here’s the most recent goals video from La Masia’s best tikes. Bonus points for some of the names. Next person to name his kid ‘Miqui’ gets a free 91st Minute bumper sticker.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

It’s frightfully easy to simply accept Barcelona’s recent tactical flowering in a fishbowl. Pep Guardiola is smart, he had the right players and the magic simply happened. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Barcelona’s march to footballing modernity is decades in the making.

This smart video from Scott Allison (which is nearly a year old but worth a rehash) does its best to elucidate just why Barca was able to do what it does now – and perhaps why Pep is doing such incredible things now with Bayern Munich. Bonus points for the old footage of Rinus Michels’ Dutch teams.

Lesson to all the flowering DA programs out there. What you’re doing now will echo down the chambers of the decades. Be sure to do it well. You could be building taller than you think.

 

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Written by Reshad Bahadori

This is embarrassing and awesome all at the same time. Real Sociedad player Jon Arrospide Gaztanaga decided to do his best Richard Sherman impression. We all know it’s really hard to stop the little maestro, but wrapping him up and trying cuddle with him is borderline pathetic. Poor Leo…

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Written by Will Parchman

This escaped The Eye of The 91st Minute for more than a month, but fret no longer! It’s the Barcelona team FIFA 14 tournament, where Busquets writhes on the ground over challenges that aren’t even physically real and there are so many bro-chest bumps you get a little dizzy.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

Three words: God loves Barcelona.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

This is a lot of fun.

Dani Alves is run down repeatedly for his defending. Sure, he can get forward like a winger, but his defending is largely regarded as ‘eh.’ So watching his spadework combined with Jordi Alba on the other flank here in a recent game against Malaga is quite a bit of fun. It’s rare that any team can claim to have a two-way fullback like Alves. But to have a talented complement on the other side? Nonsense. Barcelona is a cyborgteam.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

Wednesday is Christmas (that’s tomorrow!). The Barcelona A team has already wished you a Merry Christmas, so now it’s La Masia’s turn. These are the best of late December, so you’re welcome in advance.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

There are two ways to shoot a Christmas video. If you’re Spanish, you stand awkwardly in front of a camera, giggle nervously and do your best to not play the thing in your hand in any way that resembles a human thing to do. If you’re a Spanish club with shareholders and a bunch of titles and expectations and that kind of thing, you trot a couple dead-faced players out to a camera and tell them to drolly say merry Christmas. Yahoo.

What we need here is Totti to casually make us all feel lesser-than while simultaneously reminding us that the real spirit of Christmas is burning brightly inside us all. If he was wearing a gladiator outfit and destroying a pack of lions while saying all this, I think it’d be best.

Plus, can we talk about Negredo wearing a shirt embroidered (in the Affliction style) with the phrase “Bad Boy?” Men’s European fashion is a terrifying thing and I want no part of it.

 

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