Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo bring peace to el Clasico conflict

Mutual admiration for 'out of this world' duo even halts the feuding between Real and Barça

Even Pepe could not muster up a breach of the peace after the weekend's clasico left both Real Madrid and Barcelona in a peculiar state of mutual awe. The video nasties from previous seasons have traditionally made fertile ground for days of recrimination from both sides but Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's brilliance overshadowed all inklings of post-match bitterness.

The Portuguese defender Pepe had been asked on Sunday night about Barcelona's penalty claim in the second half when Andres Iniesta went down under his challenge and his reply – "We know what they are like, a team of play-actors" – might have whipped up a storm in any of the previous 13 clasicos since Jose Mourinho joined Real but the flames were not fanned.

The Barcelona coach, Tito Vilanova, responded by saying Barcelona could easily "make a video of Pepe's fouls" but peace had broken out and it seemed churlish to disturb it. After all speaking before Vilanova, Mourinho – who has done his fair share of firestarting across the last two seasons – had just proclaimed Messi and Ronaldo, who both scored twice in the 2-2 draw, inseparable in their "other-planetary" excellence.

The fact that on the same night Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao scored in Atletico Madrid's 2-1 win over Malaga even meant the talk of a two-team league could be silenced. The argument that Real and Barcelona are so strong because they eat everyone else's portion of pie when it comes to TV revenue, is having to be temporarily parked. It may still in part be true, but Atletico under Diego Simeone are currently level on points with Barça and Falcao is scoring at even more prolific rate than Messi and Ronaldo.

He has 11 goals in seven games this season, eight of them in La Liga. With eight each also for Messi and Ronaldo that's 24 goals from the Spanish league's top three scorers – something that cannot be matched anywhere else in Europe.

Much of the calming of tensions between Real and Barcelona has come from so many of their players sharing success on the international stage again this summer. Real's Alvaro Arbeloa and Sergio Ramos both made a point of embracing every Barça player in the tunnel before Sunday's game and next month both Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez will collect the country's prestigious Principe de Asturias prize for sport – an honour usually awarded to a single winner.

Players from Real and Barcelona were even united in taxes yesterday when it was confirmed they will have to have to pay tax on the bonuses awarded them by the Spanish Football Association for their European Championship triumph. In the past what has been won abroad, has been taxed abroad and an agreement Spain had with Austria meant the players were taxed in Austria at just 20 per cent for the bonuses earned in 2008. But this time the €300,000 awarded to each member of the squad for their triumph in Ukraine in July will be taxed in Spain.

The unity needs to be maintained over the next seven days as Spain travel to Belarus and host France in two important World Cup qualifiers. Then the back slapping will have to stop, at least if Mourinho's side are to catch their rivals. He still only has three wins against Barça as Real coach with five draws and six defeats. The draw on Sunday leaves Real eight points adrift in the table and though the Champions League remains the priority this season, the gap must be closed.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor