Came up with one or two fine saves to keep Barca at bay, but the visitors' pressure was simply too much to handle.
A good marking job on Villa, for the most part, and could not be faulted for effort throughout. Seemed a little stretched once Barca gained a three goal advantage, though.
His first half was solid, but Barca simply managed to make too many incursions into his territory on the left flank after the break, as three of their goals initiated down that side.
Worked hard along with the rest of the defence to deny Barca space on the ball, and for most of the first half, such a strategy seemed to bear fruit. A little shot for pace after the break, though, and one horrible challenge on Messi was lucky to be punished only with a yellow card.
Gave a good account of himself in the air as he gave no quarter in defence. He went too far on one occasion, though, as he tripped up Pedro in the first half to earn him a deserved booking.
Really gave his side hope in the first half with his never-say-die attitude in midfield. Forced the likes of Xavi and Messi out of their comfort zone with his relentless pressing, and had the rest of the team matched his effort, Rayo's fortunes may have well been different.
Got the ball in dangerous positions once or twice, but his influence of the match offensively was always limited. Often overrun in the middle of the park.
Had one snapped volley that flashed over the bar, but otherwise, his contributions were decidedly average as he failed to inspire much on the wings. Substituted just before the hour mark as he had drifted completely from the game by that point.
Sparked Rayo forward on a few occasions with his drive when on the ball. Came close twice to hitting the back of the net, but shot the first chance straight at Valdes, and headed the second over the bar. Still, though, the main offensive threat for the hosts.
Rather careless when on the ball, as his slow decision making saw him robbed of the ball often. Withdrawn in the second half.
Toiled diligently in his own half to provide cover on the wings, and was able to cause Barca a few problems of their own with his deliveries into the danger area.
The state of pitch made it uncomfortable for him when dealing with back-passes, but it did not affect his reflexes, as he earned his clean sheet with some good saves in the second half.
Needed no second invitation to bomb forward and supplement the attack, and often found himself at the most advanced player on the left flank. His surging and relentless play on the flanks was rewarded with a fine assist for Xavi’s goal in the second half. He was beaten once or twice defensively, though, and was booked for an ungainly barge on Jose Carlos.
Was more careful than Alba when picking his moments to advance up the flanks, but still managed to make a decisive impact on the offensive end. His overlapping run was picked out by Pedro, and his precise cutback set up Messi for Barca’s second goal.
Appeared to be uncomfortable when dealing with anything in the air, and a few less than composed moments caused some hearts to flutter on the Barca bench. But apart from those few blips he generally held his ground at the back.
His distribution was not always the most enterprising, but he held possession well without making any killer passes. He seemed freed of his shackles more after the break, though, and a sublime finish in the second half chalked up his 50th La Liga goal.
The former Arsenal man continued his fine form with another excellent attacking display. Laid on the first and last goals of the game with incisive through balls, and grabbed a goal of his own with a sidefooted finish from close range. He always looked to receive the ball in threatening positions.
Though he was beaten for pace once or twice, some strong tackles when facing up his attacker made up for it. Passed the ball effectively.
Despite Song stepping into the side to deputise in the absence of Pique, Puyol and Mascherano, Busquets was the one chosen to partner Adriano at the back. Showed some defensive acumen when dealing with a few potentially dangerous Rayo attacks, and was as composed as ever when distributing the ball out of defence.
His feathers were ruffled in the first half, as the tenacity of the Rayo defence sent him to the turf on more than one instance. His quality won through in the end, though, as a storming run through the midfield freed Montoya to square to Messi for Barca’s second goal. Laid on an assist of his own with a great cross to pick out Fabregas to make it 4-0.
Somewhat subdued in the first half, but the restraints were well and truly off after the break. A powerful finish made it 2-0 shortly after the break, and he applied his usual menace when on the ball. Rounded off matters, quite literally, in the 89th minute after skipping past Ruben to slot home the fifth.
Opened the scoring with a cool finish after racing clear down the left side. Though he drifted in and out of the game prior to his withdrawal as a substitute, he will no doubt take heart in his goal.