League leaders, suffered an embarrassing defeat to their bitterest rivals Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu Sports Stadium in Madrid.
Real Madrid who missed Karim Benzema, were left off the hook in the game but Ancelotti’s side remains favourite to win the La Liga title.
A brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and goals from Ronald Araujo and Ferran Torres saw Barcelona run riot at the Bernabeu.
Barcelona went in as an underdogs at the Bernabéu but still provided a slap in the face for the champions elect as Xavi’s side tore Real Madrid to pieces to end a run of five Clásico defeat in some style. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his excellent form with a brace and his strike partner Ferran Torres added another to his tally to cap a fine night for the visitors, who went two up from the head of Ronald Araújo.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side were never in the game and to call it a contest would be a stretch: Barça genuinely looked capable of scoring every time they approached Thibaut Courtois’ goal and only the Belgian’s reactions prevented an even more humbling scoreline.
In the greater scheme of things, Madrid won’t be too bothered about the result. Sevilla’s latest stumble keeps Ancelotti’s side firmly in the Liga driving seat and if Barça fans are tempted to gloat, their Madrid counterparts need only point to which European competition the respective clubs are in the quarter-finals of.
Ancelotti will doubtless put this down to a bad night and concentrate on securing the league title as swiftly as possible, while pointing to the absence of Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy, but for Barça and Xavi it seems a corner really has been turned, driven by Aubameyang – arguably the best January signing in Europe – and Ferran Torres, another new arrival.
A second-placed finish is a real possibility for Xavi, something that looked unlikely in the extreme when the former midfielder took over, and on this evidence Barcelona will be a domestic force to be reckoned with again under his tutelage next season.