This day in history of Ronaldo
BARCELONA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Barcelona lost more than just a 20-year record when goals from Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo led Real Madrid to a 2-1 victory at the Nou Camp on Saturday.
A first home league defeat by Real since 1983 left Barca 13 points behind the Primera Liga leaders with a little over a third of the season gone, and cost them any realistic chance of challenging for a first league title since 1999.
Saturday's result also compounded the impression that the Nou Camp is no longer a place for rival Spanish teams to fear.
Barcelona have taken just nine points from eight home league games this season, with Real becoming the third team to win there so far this term and the sixth to come away with something to show for their efforts.
Above all, the manner of Barca's defeat against the old enemy lost them a vital measure of self-respect, as coach Frank Rijkaard paid the price for an all-too-obvious fear of failure.
Despite the fervent backing of 95,000 fans, a Barcelona side packed with defensive midfielders looked terrified as they began against Real Madrid's "Galacticos" and it was no surprise when Roberto Carlos fired the visitors into the lead on 37 minutes.
Ronaldo bagged a second goal against his former club in the 74rd minute and Patrick Kluivert's header seven minutes from time could not rescue the home side.
"Rijkaard's great error," ran the headline in the Barcelona daily Sport after defeat to Real left the side with just one point from their last four league games.
The problem for Rijkaard in that time has been the loss through injury of Ronaldinho, the Brazilian playmaker who has been one of the few success stories at the club since he took over.
Rijkaard had only himself to blame, however, for the lack of attacking ideas from his side during the first half.
The Dutch coach chose to leave Javier Saviola, Marc Overmars and Ricardo Quaresma, his three most creative attacking players in the absence of Ronaldinho, on the bench until the second half.
Only when Real were in charge of the game did Rijkaard choose to rectify the situation, bringing on wingers Overmars and Quaresma at the start of the second half and Saviola with a quarter of an hour to go.
Barcelona's performance duly improved but good goalkeeping from Iker Casillas kept them at bay for the final few minutes and left Rijkaard's position starting to look shaky.
"Of course it's a delicate situation," Rijkaard acknowledged after the game. "I feel affected by the fact that we don't have more points.
"It's a tough spot to be in, but we have a lot of games to come and we have to work hard to get out of this situation."
Defeat for Barcelona in their next league game, away to city rivals Espanyol on Saturday, would make the situation a lot worse but, for the moment at least, Rijkaard remains positive.
"No one will be talking about doubts if we beat Espanyol," Rijkaard said. "We'll be a lot happier when Ronaldinho is back. He gives a lot of joy to our game."
By Kevin Fylan