Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice as a rejuvenated Barcelona gave a football masterclass to inflict a humiliating 4-0 defeat on rivals Real Madrid on Sunday, thrashing Carlo Ancelotti’s LaLiga leaders on their own ground.
A sold-out Santiago Bernabeu stadium watched silently as a much-improved Barca under the command of new coach Xavi Hernandez dominated 'El Clasico' from the start.
With Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Torres exposing Real's defensive frailty on the flanks, Barca opened the scoring in the 29th minute with an Aubameyang header from a Dembele cross.
Barca kept up the tempo against a disorganised and lifeless Real Madrid and extended their lead when defender Ronald Araujo headed in from a Dembele corner.
Ancelotti tried to change the dynamic, making two substitutions during the break but Barca scored in the first minute of the second half with an angled shot from Torres after a backheel by Aubameyang.
Five minutes later, former Manchester City forward Torres returned the favour, teeing up ex-Arsenal striker Aubameyang for his second goal.
Barca had several opportunities to extend their lead, but Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois avoided any further humiliation.
With Real Madrid sitting comfortably on top of the standings with 66 points, Sunday’s Clasico was never likely to determine the fate of LaLiga’s title race.
But pride was on the line and Xavi's much improved Barca showed that their recent return to form was genuine.
After their fifth consecutive league win, Barca are third in the standings on 54 points with a game in hand, three points behind second-placed Sevilla.
Having fallen as low as ninth in the table when Ronald Koeman was sacked in October, Barca have been revitalised under Xavi.
They are unbeaten since an extra-time defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on January 20 and have scored 24 goals in their last seven league games.
"We didn't expect this result, but our objective was achieved. We came to win and show what we are worth," Barca's Sergio Busquets told reporters.
"If we still have a small chance to make a run for the title, we will fight until the end. It's very difficult but in football anything can happen. We are Barca."
Paris St Germain slump to heavy defeat at Monaco
Paris St Germain produced a woeful performance as they lost 3-0 at Monaco in Ligue 1 on Sunday, a result that will put coach Mauricio Pochettino under more pressure less than two weeks after their Champions League exit.
PSG, on 65 points from 29 games, still lead second-placed Olympique de Marseille by 12 points after OM beat Nice 2-1 courtesy of an Arkadiusz Milik penalty on the stroke of halftime and a late goal by Cedric Bakambu.
Nice moved down from third to fourth on 50 points, two behind Stade Rennais who demolished strugglers Metz 6-1 with a Serhou Guirassy hat trick.
With Lionel Messi ruled out by a bout of flu, PSG showed close to nothing at the Louis II stadium 11 days after being knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Real Madrid who scored three goals in 17 minutes.
Monaco climbed to seventh on 44 points.
"They played well, congratulations to them. They're a good team, a great club," PSG striker Kylian Mbappe said.
"The goal is to get the 10th French title. We can win 8-0, 9-0, people will talk about the Champions League. Whatever happens we must respect ourselves, if we have a little bit of self esteem. We also need to respect the fans."
The usually soft-spoken Pochettino also had strong words.
"The way we lost is not acceptable at this level of competition. We can't start a game the way we started this one," said the Argentine who took over midway through last season.
"We need to get over the Champions league exit; hopefully the international break will help put it behind us."
PSG were overwhelmed in midfield and it was not long before they were punished.
Wissam Ben Yedder put the hosts ahead on 25 minutes after beating Presnel Kimpembe at the near post to deflect Youssouf Fofana's cross into the top corner.
The opener came shortly after PSG's first attempt of the game, a curled shot from Neymar that went just wide.
The capital team improved slightly before the interval, with Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi creating chances, but their performance was still well below their best.
PSG were not much better after the break and Mbappe wasted a couple of good opportunities before Monaco doubled their advantage in the 68th minute.
An unchallenged Fofana found Ben Yedder on the right and the France striker's pass reached Ruben Aguilar who deflected the ball for Kevin Volland to score from six metres.
Pochettino replaced Leandro Paredes with Mauro Icardi and Neymar with Julian Draxler, but the changes had zero effect as PSG conceded another goal six minutes from time.
Volland was tripped in the box by Kimpembe and Ben Yedder converted the resulting penalty to confirm PSG's fourth consecutive away defeat in all competitions.