theScore’s Gianluca Nesci was in Catalonia leading up to El Clasico, a trip that included visits to La Masia, Espanyol’s stadium, and Girona, before concluding with a seat at the Camp Nou for Barcelona’s memorable 5-1 win over Real Madrid. Below, you’ll find the complete collection of stories from the five-day adventure.

Without Messi and Ronaldo, El Clasico peeks into the future


“Messi’s spot on the sidelines is just a sabbatical, for now, enforced by the broken right arm he suffered last week against Sevilla, but even he won’t be around forever. Jarring to think about, admittedly, but the impending tilt at the Camp Nou offers a peek into the future. With the Portuguese plying his trade at Juventus and the diminutive Argentine now having to look in the rearview mirror to conjure memories of his 30th birthday, the future’s coming faster than anybody cares to admit.”

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Party at Camp Nou: Seeing Barca demolish Real Madrid live

David Ramos / Getty Images Sport / Getty

“After Arturo Vidal put the final nail in the coffin, rising up, unchallenged, to head home Barcelona’s fifth and final goal against Real Madrid on Sunday, his teammates joined him to celebrate by the corner flag. As the huddle broke, Pique turned to the crowd and gave a familiar five-finger salute. It was 2010 all over again.”

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Still to come this week …

  • A day at Barcelona’s famed La Masia: Learning the ‘Three Ps’
  • Sights and sounds from a Clasico that won’t soon be forgotten
  • Inside the Catalan restaurant that helped rescue a kidnapped Barca star
  • Espanyol’s plan to slay the Barcelona ‘monster’ begins, and ends, with their academy
  • From wedding bells to urns: The circle of life on display at Espanyol
  • Bigger isn’t always better: Girona maintain humble roots despite top-tier status