Barcelona closed a fantastic week at the Bernabeu with two wins: a 3-0 semifinal success in the Copa del Rey which left Real Madrid once again -- they're almost 117 years old -- without a treble and a 1-0 win in La Liga which moves the Catalans 12 points clear of their Clasico rivals.
Mission accomplished for a team that had a difficult task away from home, visiting the Santiago Bernabeu twice and returning having, in reality, knocked Santiago Solari's team out of two competitions. Once again, Madrid will have to focus on the Champions League. That's not gone badly in the past but this time they've reached the last 16 in a worse position and with Solari's credit running out.
In contrast to the Copa game, when there were no celebrations on the pitch, this time Barça's players did toast their win in the Spanish capital. The Copa no celebrations seemed to be a message: 'We will celebrate on Saturday.' And that is how it was.
After the game, Sergio Ramos attended the post-match on-pitch interview and you could see Barça's players celebrating in the background. It's been a long time since Barça lifted the Copa del Rey against Real Betis at the Bernabeu in 1997 and this time the Catalan club's hymn over a megaphone was missing, but cheering a 'title' at the Bernabeu is always a pleasure. This time there was no Maxenchs with a CD but there was the joy of the players on the pitch and in the dressing room, a sign that something special has happened.
Because Barça have booked their place in the cup final and have strengthened their position in top spot by beating their eternal rival. It's true that nothing is one yet but a huge amount of pressure has been lifted and now Barça can try and fly in the Champions League.