It appeared as though Barca had reached the end of an era as Pep Guardiola chose to walk away after being pipped to the title by his nemesis Jose Mourinho whose side notched up a record 100 points and 121 goals in the process.
It had taken Mourinho two seasons but he had finally ended Barcelona’s hegemony that had seen them win three consecutive championships and two Champions Leagues since Guardiola returned to the club in the summer of 2008.
During his first year a fear element set in at the Bernabeu as Mourinho desperately sought and failed to find a way to counteract Barca’s technically strong passing game but last April Real came out on top 2-1 in a key game to decide the title at the Nou Camp.
Real seemed to be a team on the up as they had consolidated without the need to spend lavishly in the transfer market, but rather they attempted to fine tune the squad with the addition for example of Luka Modric from Tottenham Hotspur to add competition for Mesut Ozil in midfield.
It would be easy to think that Guardiola decided to leave in the face of this and indications that his Barcelona team was on a downward curve.