By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
It was as if they had never been away. Barcelona and Real Madrid returned to action when they kicked off their pre-season campaigns on Tuesday, albeit with a few notable absences. And both teams were swiftly back to winning ways.
Barca, without the injured Lionel Messi, overcame Hamburg 2-1 in Tito Vilanova's first game in charge, while Real Madrid thrashed Oviedo 5-1 with a team made up mostly of young players and still missing their Spain stars, who are set to return to training on Saturday after winning Euro 2012 at the beginning of July.
Here, Goal.com looks at what the two teams will have learned from their respective friendly fixtures on Tuesday, a month ahead of their meeting in the Spanish Supercopa.
|ALVES REMAINS THE WORLD'S BEST RIGHT-BACK
Dani Alves endured a complicated campaign in 2011-12. The Brazil right-back was well below his best last term and was dropped for the Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea at Camp Nou.
That appeared to be the end for the marauding defender but Guardiola later described the player as "irreplaceable" and on Tuesday, he proved it with an impressive performance.
Alves gave Barcelona the lead as he drove home in a crowded penalty area after five minutes. Then, he played an important part in the winner scored by Gerard Deulofeu as it was his sliding tackle that won back possession to start the move down the right which led to the goal just before half-time.
The Brazilian's Camp Nou future looked uncertain in the summer, but has since been cleared up and he is the only player to have started the opening matches of both Guardiola and Vilanova. On Tuesday's evidence, he remains the world's best in his position - and a huge asset to Barcelona.
|BARCELONA STILL NEED A NEW DEFENDER
Although Alves impressed, Barca were hit by a big blow in defence as Marc Muniesa departed with a serious injury after just 11 minutes on the field.
Muniesa also sustained a physical blow against Chivas last summer and now looks set for another long spell on the sidelines with a suspected cruciate ligament rupture, the Catalan club revealed on Tuesday night.
Tests will be undertaken on Wednesday but the youngster seems unlikely to return to action in the foreseeable future and Barcelona really now need to step up their search for a new defender, particularly given the injury problems of captain Carles Puyol in recent seasons.
|DEULOFEU IS THE NEXT BIG THING AT CAMP NOU
Gerard Deulofeu impressed for Spain's Under-19 side as La Roja's youngsters claimed the European Championship for a second year running earlier this summer.
The talented winger made his debut under Guardiola in October 2011, when he became the first player born after Barca's European Cup success in 1992 to appear in the first team.
Guardiola claimed he needed more time, however, and back he went to Barca B. Another opportunity came on Tuesday, though, and he grabbed it by scoring the all-important second goal from an angle in what was a bright showing.
It may take time, but he is set to be Barca's next big thing from La Masia.
|KAKA WON'T BE NEEDED IF DI MARIA STAYS FIT
Kaka had originally been included in Real Madrid's squad to face Real Oviedo on Tuesday night, but was left out following talks on his future with Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday.
The Brazilian now looks set to leave the capital club after three seasons in which he has struggled to hold down a place in the first team.
Last term, his chance came following an injury to winger Angel Di Maria, but the Argentine is back in imperious form ahead of the coming campaign and scored twice on Tuesday.
Playing like that and with Luka Modric still looking likely to arrive, Madrid won't miss Kaka.
|MADRID'S KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Madrid have been criticised this summer for the sale of young right-back Dani Carvajal to Bayer Leverkusen, but there was plenty of youth talent on show against Oviedo.
Adan and Esteban Granero were the only two senior starters in Asturias, but Mourinho's men raced to a three-goal lead before the interval, with youngsters Lucas Vazquez and Denis both on target.
Lucas also set up Granero's goal and was a bright spark throughout, while Denis became the first Russian ever to score for Madrid. Alvaro Morata, meanwhile, was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet as he peppered the home side's goal.
In the second half, many more youngsters appeared, including Brazilian full-back Fabinho, who will be Carvajal's replacement at Castilla in 2012-13.
None looked out of place.
|THERE ARE NO FRIENDLIES FOR MOURINHO
Mourinho's 'Version 3.0' kicked off with an experimental side, but the result was familiar as Real roared to a comprehensive victory on Tuesday.
The Portuguese coach gives plenty of importance to pre-season fixtures, eager to see whether his side can hit the heights both in terms of fitness and hunger ahead of the more important dates to come.
And judging by the evidence in Oviedo, the Liga champions will be a force to be reckoned with once more in 2012-13. It may have been only a Segunda Division B opponent, but a 5-1 win away from home with youngsters has set the marker for the senior players, who return later this week.
For Mourinho, there is no such thing as a friendly.