"It was the kind of game you dream about, it was a perfect display," Ronaldinho said after the first meeting of the two great rivals this season. The win took Barca, who have won their last six games in all competitions and conceded just once, to the top of the Primera División, four points ahead of third-placed Madrid.
Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring after 15 minutes and Ronaldinho notched two brilliant individual goals in the second half. On 60 minutes, he carried the ball 40 metres, shrugging off two defenders before firing home. Sixteen minutes later, he raced past Sergio Ramos to finish inside the far post.
Ronaldinho, given a rare standing ovation by the home fans, said: "For me it was a very emotional moment and I will never forget it because it isn't often opposition fans applaud you. It isn't something that you expect to happen in your career. I didn't know that it had only happened here before with Maradona."
Barcelona captain Carles Puyol said: "Ronaldinho is the best player in the world. He showed it today but he has also demonstrated it in other games. It is a surprising scoreline but Ronaldinho's plays and the work of the rest of the team earned us the victory."
Madrid defender Míchel Salgado described the performance as the "worst" in his time at the club. "We are shattered. It's been a hard blow," he said. "Barca were better up front, defended better and played better. We have to face the facts because we gave the fans nothing to cheer about."
Madrid, who are waiting for Raúl González to undergo tests on a possible knee injury, next welcome Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League, although both teams like Barcelona have already qualified for the knockout phase. However, Lyon beat Madrid 3-0 on Matchday 1 and a similar result would still place more pressure on coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo.
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