As Dani Carvajal saw red and Lionel Messi slammed in the resulting penalty to put Barce 2-0 up at the Bernabeu, you could see the whole of Spain outside of Catalonia’s shoulders slump and raise the white flag.
Aleix Vidal added a third in injury-time to leave Zinedine Zidane’s men to face the baying home support as his side slipped to fourteen points behind their great rivals with the season not even at the half way stage.
This week has been a catastrophe for Barcelona’s rivals but a triumph for the Blaugrana as the quartet of Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Real Madrid and Seville have all suffered defeats within the last few days.
Sevilla even took the drastic action of sacking head coach Eduardo Berizzo just days after returning to the dugout after prostate cancer surgery.
The former Celta Vigo manager and ex River Plate player was rather harshly dismissed after taking over from the appointed Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli in June this year and leaves the club far from crisis in fifth place in La Liga just two-points behind the struggling Real Madrid in fourth.
(Eduardo Berizzo sacked by Sevilla on Friday)
Valencia themselves have hit far more worrying form than any of those on the top five with just one win in their last five and three defeats.
However, after a few seasons in the abysses, the campaign is still proving an overwhelming success and the Los Che never really expected to challenge for the title with European qualification the only realistic target.
Zidane in BIG trouble
What is more disappointing is the form of the 33-times La Liga winners Real Madrid, and their remarkable dip in form in Spain’s top flight this year.
For a side that swept to the title last season AND the Champions League crown, the surprise is all the greater.
Last season Real claimed 29 wins, 6 draws and just 3 defeats. This current campaign, and already Los Blancos have equalled 3 losses and it is not even Christmas.
Real Madrid have given up on the league and Zidane knows he has only one way to save his job and that is to ensure Real win an unprecedented third straight Champions League title.
However, he may not get that chance as this defeat on home soil to Barcelona will have severely hurt the Real Madrid hierarchy and the blame will lay firmly at Zidane’s door.
Atletico are now the only realistic contenders to Barcelona’s impending throne but even they sit nine points behind with the white flag looking like it has been raised from all corners of Spain.
For Barcelona fans, they will have not have had many better Christmas’s than this one as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla all hit the self-destruct button to gift Ernesto Valverde’s men a 25th La Liga title before the clock has even struck once in 2018.