Why can't all football be like that? It was wonderful entertainment. Barcelona were the better team, because they are the better team, but Madrid made a number of opportunities on the break and deserved the draw. Thanks for your emails; night.
Full time: Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona
90+3 min Alves, leaping towards his own goal on the six-yard line, does really well to head wide of his own goal. The resulting corner eventually comes to Ozil on the left of the box, and his fierce half-volley is blocked desperately by Puyol.
90+1 min Did I say Thiago Silva? I meant Thiago Alcantara. In other news, Thiago Silva should have been booked then for a sliding foul on Ronaldo, but the referee waved play on.
90 min There will be three added minutes of generally awesome fare.
89 min Xabi Alonso is booked for repeated offending after his 97th foul of the night. He's been stomping round like Lee Cattermole tonight.
88 min DIego Lopez makes a fine save from Jordi Alba. He ran through onto a clipped ball over the top, presumably from Xavi, took it delightfully in his stride on the edge of the box and then whistled a rising half-volley that Lopez leapt to his left to tip over the bar with his wrong right hand.
87 min Essien has had a fantastic game at right-back tonight.
86 min Puyol was booked after the goal for complaining about life's vicissitudes.
84 min Cesc Fabregas is replaced by Thiago Silva.
83 min Just before the Varane goal, Lopez made a fine save from Messi. And just before that, Carvalho could have been sent off again for handball on the edge of the area. He was falling over as he did so, so I suppose the referee thought it was accidental. Knowing Carvalho's defensive philosophy, I doubt it was.
GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona (Varane 82)
The magnificent teenager Raphael Varane gets his second goal of the night. Kind of. He saved a goal at one end and now he has equalised. A corner wasn't cleared properly, and when it was swung back in from the right towards Varane, he sent a fine downward header from the penalty spot that kicked up off the pitch, through the left hand of the diving Pinto and into the net. It was a mighty leap as well, above two Barcelona players. What a Clasico debut! He's only a bairn!
80 min We're having technical problems. Real have just equalised. Fact.
78 min Messi has a goal rightly disallowed for offside. The finish was beautiful, an instinctive scoop over Lopez from 15 yards.
76 min Alexis replaces Pedro. This game is still endearingly open.
73 min Another huge chance for Barcelona! Real Madrid lumped a free-kick into the Barcelona area; ten seconds later Pedro was running through on goal after a stunning pass over the top. Lopez stayed on his line, so Pedro kept taking more and more touches and getting closer and closer. By the time he shot he was on the six-yard line, but he still clipped his shot wide of the far post. That's a desperate miss.
72 min Alves is booked for a cynical, late tackle on Ronaldo. It was a clear yellow, but Alves had the aggrieved coupon on as usual.
70 min A big chance for Fabregas. A gorgeous long pass from Xavi, into the space, allowed Alves to sprint through on the right of the area. He bobbled it back to Fabregas, unmarked 10 yards out, and he whistled it over on the half-volley. He should have scored.
68 min "If Ryan Dunne is going to be a permanent fixture on all MBM's could we at least come to some arrangement to limit the amount of !!!!!!!!! points per game?" begs David Flynn. Normally I'm all for a maximum of two per sentence, but Ryan Dunne's enthusiasm is so infectious that we should make an exception. Limiting his exclamation marks would be like hoofing a cute puppy in the swingers. Kind of.
66 min The third goal-saving tackle of the night. First Alves and Varane, and now Pique. Real sliced Barcelona open with two wonderful passes: Khedira inside Alba for Ozil (I think); Ozil first time across the area for Ronaldo to slide in at the far post, six yards out. He was in the process of doing so with his left foot when Pique slid round to clear the ball with the toe of his right boot. He was hurt in the process, too, and then almost hit by a lighter thrown from the crowd. Those three challenges were so good, so obviously goal-saving, that they should be noted in official records of the game.
65 min "Rob, you're quite the Mourinho fan," says Shooby Taylor. "Do you see a comeback and suitably outrageous celebration tonight? I suspect the padded jacket will somehow be involved..."
No, he's saving that for the European Cup final. Even if Madrid score a last-minute winner tonight, the camera will cut to the bench and Mourinho will be absent-mindedly watching Pointless repeats on an iPad.
64 min Gonzalo Higuain replaces Karim Benzema. It's breathless, this yin.
63 min A sublime meander from the incomparable Iniesta, coming infield from the left, ends with a flat crossfield pass that Alves blooters towards goal from the right side of the box. It's too straight and beaten away by Lopez.
62 min Carvalho, the poor old sod, is lucky not to be sent off when he pulls Messi back. It was near the halfway line but many a jobsworth would have given him a second yellow.
60 min Ronaldo misses from four yards! Essien, just outside the area on the right, curled in a magnificent, undefendable cross between keeper and defenders. It came to Ronaldo at the far post, but it kicked up off the pitch and he put his header this far wide of the post. He should have scored, of course, but the bounce made it harder than five-yard headers usually are.
60 min Alonso, who has been put himself about tonight, fouls Alves again.
58 min When we do The Joy of Six: great tackles, that one from Varane could easily be in there. It was wonderful. As is Jose Mourinho – pick that segue out – and he has just replaced Callejon with Luka Modric. Presumably Ozil will move to the right of the attacking triumvirate.
57 min Messi breaks the Madrid offside trap, almost on the halfway line, and is erroneously flagged offside. That's a big moment as he was clear on goal. In fact he was at least two yards onside.
56 min Varane saves a goal with a quite glorious piece of defending. Fabregas was put through on goal, and had a good five yards on Varane. Fabregas was waiting for the ball to sit down, 10 yards from goal, but as he did so Varane caught up and came round the side with his left foot to clip the bouncing ball away. We're used to desperate last-ditch tackles, but that was elegant too.
52 min An awful tackle from Essien, who puts his studs into Jordi Alba's leg when Alba slides in to win a loose ball. At best that was utterly inept.
Callejon came round the back of the Madrid defence on the right-hand side to clear a little unconvincingly; in doing so, he had so much momentum towards his own goal that he ended up playing everyone onside. As a number of Real players leered at Callejon's clearance, Messi stabbed the ball into the space beyond the defence (bar Callejon). It came to Fabregas, through on goal with Callejon stuck on the other side of the area, and he swept it ruthlessly under Diego Lopez.
GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona (Fabregas 50)
After all that wonderful football, a thoroughly ordinary goal.
48 min "Hawrite Rob!" says the faithful dog of the MBM, Ryan Dunne. "Good to see that your OBO-alluded-to birthday hasn't led to you retiring from the MBM/OBO game! You wanna stick around forever, be the Ryan Giggs of minute-by-minute reporting!"
In defence of, y'know, me, I'm only in my ninth year of MBMing. Murray, Ingle and Glendenning are already into double figures. They're the real saddos. I'm winning. Kind of.
47 min A great chance for Benzema! He played a one-two with Ronaldo on the edge of the box, shuffled square across the area, past a sliding tackle from Puyol; but then, when the shooting chance came, he leant back and sliced it over the bar with his left foot.
46 min Barcelona begin the second half.
Open journalism department
Could you let me know if there are any more goals in the United/Southampton game? Thanks. Love you guys!
Introducing a new MBM feature
This has been with our tech team for years, and now it is my pleasure to present: Send Us Free Stuff and We'll Give You A Free Plug Faster Than You Can Say 'Dignity Is Overrated'.
Send anything you like – cakes, tickets, alcohol, Chewits – to the MBM Team, Guardian Sport, York Way, London. No, I can't be bothered to look up the postcode. Anyway, kicking off this groundbreaking new feature is the brilliant Maid of Gingerbread, who made a gingerbread DeLorean for us to chew on. A gingerbread DeLorean! How cool is that? Clue: very very very very very very very cool.
Now for the plug. I suppose if I were describing Maid of Gingerbread's work, I might say that by offering something a little different from the ubiquitous cupcake, and exploring the boundary between food and art, she creates entirely edible sculptural centrepieces. Sometimes interactive, often entertaining, and always delicious, her work combines high quality ingredients with unique design. Probably something like that. Here's the website.
Half time: Real Madrid 0-0 Barcelona
File under 'everything but the goal'. That was a wonderful half of football: it had class, drama, entertainment, intensity and Jose in a padded jacket. See you in 10 minutes.
45 min Ozil so nearly puts Ronaldo with a delicious, almost tender through pass. The quality of football is stratospheric.
44 min "Are you, with your amazing ability to watch a number of screens at once and type, able to see the Arsenal - Liverpool match? If so, how do the matches compare in real time?" asks Gary Naylor. "Has anyone watched a Spanish and English game simultaneously for such purposes? Jonathan Wilson must have, I suppose."
Crikey no. Doing one MBM is hard enough. This liveblogging factor is for young men, I'm telling you. One for Steinberg probably.
42 min Messi plays a great ball to Alba on the left of the box, and Varane storms across to clear with a fine sliding tackle. His performance thus far has been the stuff of man-crushes. He looks so mature for a teenager.
41 min Alonso leaves a foot in on Alves, prompting the two to have a heated discussion as to the relative merits of Borgen and Mrs Brown's Boys. Moments later, Callejon is booked for dissent.
40 min Thanks for all the United updates. You guys are so good to me!
39 min Varane, as the Sky commentators have just observed, has been superb tonight. He's still only 19. Nobody ever talks about him as the one that got away for Manchester United, but they might in a few years' time.
38 min Ronaldo launches another Real attack with a masterful pass to put Ozil one on one with Pique. He teases him on the edge of the area, waiting for support, and then plays the ball left for Benzema (I think) to strike at goal. His shot is blocked and loops up in the air, with Pinto flying from his line to punch clear.
36 min That was so good from Alves. Not only was he facing his own goal, but he had to get his foot to the ball before Benzema, without facing Benzema, and then make sure he didn't slide the ball into his own net.
35 min The impressive, marauding right-back Michael Essien – what did happen to him – wins a corner. When it's recycled, Essien plays a superb ball through to Callejon on the right of the box. He drills it square towards Benzema, three yards from goal, and Alves makes a wonderful goal-saving tackle.
33 min Carvalho, once a genuinely great defender, is hilarious to watch now. I was going to see he's playing from memory but that might be flattering him. He's wheezing round like one of those footballers in the Father Ted 5-a-side.
32 min Does anyone know the United score? Thanks.
31 min If Ronaldo is booked he will miss the return leg, so when he goes within five yards of Alves half the Barcelona team try to get him booked. Their endeavours are unsuccessful, but the foul does mean a free-kick for Messi, close to the right edge of the penalty area. Messi curls it over the bar.
30 min This is wonderful stuff. Just when you thought Barcelona had total control of the game, Madrid have started to launch some very dangerous counter attacks. Callejon, who has the run on the last man Alba, overruns the ball. Moments later, Essien muscles Messi aside on the edge of the area. Some referees would have given a foul there, though I don't think it was. And, as the Sky chaps have just said, Messi's reaction was great: he just bounced straight to his feet with the usual puppy-dog enthusiasm. As opposed to puppy-cat enthusiasm.
29 min "When watching Barcelona," Messi and goal seem to go together quite nicely," says Simon McMahon. "As do liquid and football." No, I mean phonetically. Oh never mind. Let's talk about Monster Munch or something.
27 min After a beautiful, sharp attack from Madrid, Callejon (I think) plays an angled through ball to Benzema in the box. He flips it up with his first touch, perhaps by accident, and then lashes a volley into the side netting at the near post. He should probably have scored.
26 min Barcelona are starting to pick Madrid off now. Fabregas, put through on goal by Messi, is just offside.
24 min Xavi's shot is cleared off the line by Varane! Carvalho, already inside his own box, played a stunningly inadequate backpass to Lopez. Fabregas got there first and went around the goalkeeper, but the angle was prohibitive even for him so he played it back to Xavi, 12 yards from goal. He drove a fine shot past Lopez that was booted away by Varane, who smelt danger and instinctively sprinted back towards the goalline. That's wonderful defending.
21 min Carvalho, aged 92, is well off the pace and fouls Messi 25 yards from goal. And Xavi curls the free-kick onto the bar! It was a beautiful, old-fashioned effort with the side of the foot, up and down, but it didn't quite come down enough and hit the face of the bar. Lopez was beaten.
20 min Benzema stands up a cross that just clears Ronaldo, storming in at the far post in the Roma 2008 style.
19 min File under tiki taka.
18 min This, you don't me to tell you, is magnificent stuff.
17 min "Is it my dodgy feed or is the volume in the stadium just absolutely staggering?" asks Mark Hammond. My legal feed would suggest the same, and Guardian.co.uk/sport does not encourage blah blah blah.
16 min Barcelona so often go from 0-90mph between minutes 10-15, and it has happened again. Madrid have hardly had a kick in the last five minutes. They're struggling to keep up with the shadows, never mind the players. Carvalho is booked for a comically inept hack at Fabregas.
15 min 'Xavi' and 'pass', two words that belong together, have a certain phonetic euphony when said together quickly. Not quite 'cellar door', but still extremely pleasant. Any other suggestions, footballing oir otherwise?
13 min A stunning scooped pass from Iniesta in the inside-left position takes the entire Madrid defence out of the game and finds Alba, hurtling through on goal. He's ten yards out but can't get his balance right and screws a difficult volley across the face of goal and well wide.
10 min The first dangerous Barcelona attack. Messi slithers round the back and cuts it back to Fabregas, seven or eight yards from goal. He was surrounded by defenders, faffed around a bit, and eventually played the ball back to the offside Messi.
9 min Essien's deflected cross is slapped over his own bar by the backpedalling Pinto. That would have gone in.
7 min Puyol, pressed on the edge of his own area, shanks a clearance into touch. It's been a brilliant start from Madrid, but I don't know how you sustain this against Barcelona for 45 minutes, never mind 90.
6 min Madrid are playing a very high line, which hasn't always gone so well against Barcelona. It is allowing them to press high up, though, and thus far Barcelona haven't got in the game. Mind you, they often take 10 minutes to get the passing carousel going, whereupon the opposition don't get a kick for the next 80.
5 min Dani Alves is down after a nasty collision with fresh air. Actually, having seen the replay again, that wasn't great from Arbeloa, who eased his studs down the back of Alves's foot. He made it look clumsy rather than malicious. Maybe it was just clumsy.
3 min Did Mourinho cattle-prod the Madrid players' special places before this game? They have been feral at the start of this match.
2 min It's a good effort, wobbling hideously, and Pinto, who was moving to his right, has to leap back to his left to beat it away. That's a really good save because, although it was central, it was moving like a beach ball.
44 seconds After a storming run, Ronaldo is taken down by Pique this far outside the area, and is booked. It was to the left side of the area, otherwise that would have been a red card for the denial of a goalscoring opportunity. He may not have denied it anyway, because here comes Ronaldo with the free kick ...
1 min Madrid kick off from left to right. They are weari- you don't need me to tell you what colours the team are wearing, do you.
Mourinho looks a bit of a state, in a padded jacket and a jumper that looks like the dog's been at it. I reckon he might be growing a gut as well, just to mess with a few heads. He really is magnificent.
This is well worth repeating Has there ever been a better-judged slap? Any firmer and Puyol can legitimately kick off; any softer and it doesn't make its point. It was perfect, right in that corridor of uncertainty between playfully friendly and overtly aggressive.
"Evening Rob," says Simon McMahon. "Mourinho's a twat, but an interesting one, and one I'd have managing my team any day. No doubt he's up to something, but what exactly?"
I reckon he's loving this. No one likes me, I don't care. He's going to win the European Cup and then announce, live on TV, that it's his dream to manage Millwall, but he'll have to do so remotely as he's off to live in the woods.
Kick off is definitely 8pm, by the English clock. So there.
Iker Casillas, Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Fabio Coentrao are all injured or suspended, hence that potentially dodgy back four. They are also without Angel Di Maria. Barcelona have probably their best outfield dectet.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Diego López; Essien, Varane, Carvalho, Arbeloa; Khedira, Alonso; Callejón, Özil, Ronaldo; Benzema.
Subs: Adán, Kaká, Marcelo, Albiol, Modric, Higuaín, Morata.
Barcelona (1-8-1): Pinto; Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Alba; Sergio; Xavi, Fàbregas; Pedro, Messi, Iniesta.
Subs: Valdés, Villa, Alexis, Thiago, Mascherano, Adriano, Song.
In the 164 months between 23 August 1997 and 20 April 2011, Real Madrid and Barcelona met only twice outside La Liga, in the European Cup semi-final over 2002. In the 15 months since they have met seven times outside La Liga, with the eighth and ninth to come in this Copa del Rey semi-final. It's been an orgy of Clásicism, and quantitative affirmation of their unprecedented duopoly, whatever the league table says.
Sometimes, contrary to the received wisdom, the league table does lie. You can't take Real Madrid's league position seriously. Jose Mourinho gave up on the league before the X-Factor and Strictly got going. Jose's up to something, though goodness knows what. What's he playing at? What's his angle? This is a man who would probably consider going on Jeff Bridges' Big Lebowski diet, and shambling onto the touchline in a dressing gown and with a walking stick, if he thought it would unsettle Barcelona, so there's no way he'll go quietly from Madrid now that he appears to hold them with around the same affection as he does Barca.
That he will be going is surely not in doubt. He has few friends in Madrid these days and in a sense this game is Barcelona + Real Madrid versus Jose Mourinho. I know who my money's on. It would not be at all surprising if Jose pulled off a glorious triumph in absurdity; if, come May, he was cavorting round Wembley having beaten Barcelona in the European Cup final, his final game as Real Madrid manager, with Sergio Ramos on one arm and Iker Casillas on the other, both having whipped off their Madrid tops to reveal 'I BELONG TO JOSE' T-shirts.
In a sense Mourinho can't lose, which is a perfect position for a serial winner to be in. If he beats Barcelona here and/or wins the European Cup, Jose has done it again and you better bow down, ingrates. If Madrid are defenestrated 5-0 by Barcelona and win the square root of bugger all, well, ha ha Madrid! Ha ha! This is what you get when you mess with Jose, Madrid. NMFP, Madrid.
Jose's out of Madrid in the summer, and at the moment he looks like a man who could barely care less. It's been a majestic, almost nihilistic performance from Jose these last couple of months; goodness knows how good it will get as the season reaches the business end.
Kick off is at 8pm by the English clock. I think. What day is this?