In only the second meeting between Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid outside of their home country, Barcelona bested their rivals 3-2 to win the International Champions before a big crowd in Miami, Florida. American soccer fans were treated to a Super Bowl-style El Classico, with fireworks and music performances during the thirty minute halftime. Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic put Barca ahead early but Mateo Kovacic and Marco Asensio levelled it for Real. It was Gerard Pique’s clean nick off a Neymar free kick that handed Copa del Ray champions from last year a victory over the current Spanish and European champions. Neymar has been in the news with intense speculation over his future with Barcelona, and there have been reports that Paris Saint Germain has made a 220 million euro offer for the Brazilian forward. However, he looked to be in excellent form yesterday as he set up Rakitic for the first goal just seven minutes after coming back on field, after he had to leave clutching his ankle in the opening minutes of the game. His free kick that was out away by Pique handed the match to him, and after the performance, Barcelona will be looking to desperately hold on to the player for the next season.
Barcelona have already beaten Manchester United and Juventus in the International Champions Cup, although Real Madrid has yet to win a game in the friendly competition. They were defeated in a penalty shootout against Manchester United, and then lost 4-1 to Manchester City in Los Angeles. Real coach Zinedine Zidane, however, said he was not bothered over the string of pre-season defeats, and said it was more important to be ready for the Super Cup clash with Manchester United in Skopje.