Neymar stole the show from the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale when the Brazilian's strike set Barcelona on the way to a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in Saturday's 'Clasico' at the Nou Camp.
In a La Liga match watched by millions around the world, Barca landed a blow in the title race when Neymar scored a clinical goal in the 19th minute before substitute Alexis Sanchez netted with a brilliant chip 11 minutes from time in the 167th league meeting between the bitter rivals.
Jese came off the bench to pull a goal back in the first minute of added time but it was little more than a consolation for Real, who were outplayed for long periods and slip six points behind the champions with 10 matches played.
Neymar opened the scoring when he collected the ball from Andres Iniesta on the left of the penalty area and cut inside on to his right foot, with his low shot taking a slight deflection off Real fullback Dani Carvajal before zipping past goalkeeper Diego Lopez into the far corner of the net.
Real battled hard in the second half and Karim Benzema, who replaced Real's ineffective world record signing Bale on the hour, smashed a shot against the bar before Alexis scored with an exquisite chip over Lopez from just outside the area.
Unbeaten Barca's victory, their ninth in the league this season, puts them on 28 points ahead of third-placed Real at the top of the standings.
Second-placed Atletico Madrid are four points behind Barca ahead of their game at home to Real Betis on Sunday.
Barcelona have drawn first blood over Real Madrid with a deserved 2-1 win at Nou Camp to go six points clear in the La Liga title race.
Barcelona enjoyed greater possession 55% to 45% and more shots (12) than Real Madrid (10).
Barcelona 2 (Neymar 19" Sanchez 78") Real Madrid 1 (Jesse 91")
93" Real Madrid had 90 seconds of added time to find the equaliser after pulling one back but it was Barcelona who had a final crack at goal with Alves's shot being deflected for a corner.
91" GOAL! Jesse Rodriguez pulls one back for Real shooting through Valdes at the beginning of added time after Ronaldo slided in a erfect pass
85" Ronaldo is cutting a sorry figure having had a penalty appeal turned down and booked after Khedira had a shot of his own which was saved by Valdes.
84" SUBSTITUTION! Pedro comes in for Neymar who leaves the field to a standing ovation.
83" Alves is denied by Lopez after beating Ronaldo.
79" YELLOW! Ronaldo is booked for dissent.
78" GOAL! Alexis Sanchez chips over Lopez from outside the box after a through ball from Neymar.
Barcelona 2 (Neymar 19" Sanchez 78) Real Madrid 0
76" Double substituion as Song replaces Iniesta for Barcelona while Jesse comes in for Di Maria.
75" Iniesta has a crack at goal with the ball sailing over the maze of defenders.
71" Benzema hits the crossbar with a powerful strike from 25 yards out to rock Barcelona while Khedira fails with the rebound with a poor header .
70" SUBSTITUTION! Barcelona make the first change with Sanchez replacing Fabregas.
67" Real enjoying a spell of possession and calling the shots as they look for the equaliser.
66" Benzema gets his first chance but the Real Madrid striker heads over the crossbar.
64" YELLOW! Marcelo is booked for pulling back Messi.
61" SUBSTITUTION! Real Madrid make second change as Karim Benzema replaces Gareth Bale.
58" YELLOW! for Khadira after a foul on Iniesta.
57" Ronaldo's low left-footed shot from close range is saved by Valdes after being played in by Modric.
From the following corner, Angel Di Maria has an effort from at least 20 yards saved by Valdes.
54" Neymar's powerful left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner following a through ball from Iniesta.
48" Khedira's cross is headed back across goal by Gareth Bale but Pique clears the ball with a solid header.
47" There is a heated exchange with Khedira protesting as Ramos, who has already been booked, brings down Iniesta on the halfway line.
46" Barcelona get the second half under way but Bale wins a corner for Real which is collected safely by the leaping Valdes.
Barcelona 1 (Neymar 19") Real Madrid 0
Neymar is even overshadowing his more illustrious team mate and most certainly Bale while Ronaldo is failing to scythe through the Barcelona midfield despite a superb dash on the left just before the interval.
There are 98,761 fans at the Camp Nou for the match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Has averaged 8.9 shots per game in La Liga this season but failed to muster a single shot in the 1st half vs Barcelona, according to WhoScored.com.
45" Neymar's goal stands for Barcelona as Real Madrid look a frustrated bunch at the break.
44" YELLOW! Bale goes into book for high challenge on Pique.
43" Lovely break on the left from Ronaldo driving past Alves and firing in a superb cross.
Valdes makes a great save blocking the close range shot from Khedira who claims a hand ball against Mascherano without success.
40" Messi earns a free kick after being tripped on the right edge of the box.
37" Barcelona midfielder Xavi plays a wonderful lofted ball over the Real Madrid defence but Neymar is offside.
36" Neymar is playing in only his ninth La Liga match but the 21-year-old Brazilian is running circles around Real.
35" YELLOW! for Adriano for a nasty foul on Ronaldo.
33" Desperate defending by Real as Messi and Neymar converge from either flank.
29" Real stringing together moves but fail to break Barca ring of defence while Neymar is looking dangerous on the break showing his trickery on the left against defender Varane.
26" Real Madrid struggling to create any chances with Bale shooting wide to the left.
21" Messi misses with another left-footed shot from the right side of the box curling it wide.
19" GOAL! Neymar fires the first salvo for Barcelona firing from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner after being put clear by Iniesta.
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 0
17" Neymar jinks around and fires a weak shot straight to Lopez from the edge of the box.
15" YELLOW! Ramos is booked as Neymar goes down under challenge from the Real skipper.
15" Bale fires a left-footed shot from long range which soars over the bar though making his intentions clear.
11" Messi's left-footed shot from outside the box is blocked. First effort on target.
7" YELLOW! Early booking for Busquets for a lunging challenge on Angel Di Maria.
5" Cesc Fabregas has the game's first crack at goal from 25 yards, but his shot is deflect by team mate Neymar.
2" Neymar concedes the game's first free-kick with a foul on Brazil team-mate Marcelo.
1" Real Madrid get the game under way.
Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cesc Fabregas start for Barcelona. Gerard Pique is in the team after a hamstring injury scare.
Gareth Bale replaces Karim Benzema in the Real Madrid starting line-up.
22 Dani Alves
13 Pinto Colorado
22 Di María
05 Fábio Coentrão
Lionel Messi made his first starting appearance following his injury lay-off against Milan in midweek and immediately returned to scoring ways.
Jordi Alba remains injured, which means Adriano is likely to keep his place at left back.
Gareth Bale is expected to make just his second starting appearance for his new club following his world record transfer in the summer. The Wales international could take the place of Angel Di Maria on the right flank.
Barcelona have won their last 19 home matches in La Liga.
Real Madrid are undefeated in their last five matches against Barcelona in all competitions.
The 167th La Liga 'Clasico' between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Nou Camp on Saturday could be the ideal stage for Gareth Bale and Neymar to show they are worth a combined price tag of almost 160 million euros (136 million pounds).
Or, as is more likely, one of the most intense rivalries in football and a match watched by hundreds of millions around the world will again showcase the peerless talents of Barca's Argentine World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and Real's Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Leaders Barca dropped their first points of the campaign with a 0-0 draw at Osasuna last weekend and victory for Real, as well as providing a huge confidence boost, would put them level with their bitter rivals on 25 points from 10 games.
Wales winger Bale replaced Ronaldo as the most expensive player in history when he joined Real from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of 100 million euros in the close season, while Barca paid some 57 million to lure Brazil forward Neymar from Santos.
Bale's first weeks in the Spanish capital have been disrupted by injury but coach Carlo Ancelotti hinted that the 24-year-old could feature from the start against Barca after coming on as a second-half substitute in Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League victory at home to Juventus.
Neymar, 21, has shown glimpses of the brilliance that has served his country so well in recent years - he scored the goal against Atletico Madrid that secured the Spanish Super Cup at the end of August - without really catching fire.
Playing in the Brazilian league has given him a taste of the frenzied nature of a nation's biggest derbies and he is fully aware of what is at stake on Saturday, beyond the three points.
"I don't think there is any need to explain what this match is all about," he told Barca's television channel on Wednesday.
"Even though players might never have participated in one, they understand the importance of a game between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
"A 'clasico' is the pinnacle for any player. It's the game everyone wants to play in and demonstrate their best football.
"This will be my first and I want to make a great debut, preferably with a victory."
Real fans, meanwhile, are impatient to see what Bale, the latest in a line of 'galactico' signings after players such as Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Ronaldo, is capable of.
Supporters attending Wednesday's Juve game applauded him while he warmed up on the touchline and then gave him a rousing ovation when he replaced Karim Benzema in the 67th minute.
Ancelotti has been anxious not to overburden him too early in his Real career and Ronaldo, used to the intense media scrutiny that Bale and his family are now facing, this week urged people to give him time to settle in.
"Buying a player for that amount of money, it's a huge sum in the first place, but it also means the lad will have problems because he will never be judged normally," former Barca player and coach Johan Cruyff told As sports daily on Thursday.
"It is going to be very tough for him and it's not fair," added the Dutchman.
"I like him as a player, he has a cool head, but just try and stay calm when all this is happening to you."
Saturday's match will also give Barca coach Gerardo Martino and Ancelotti their first taste of Spain's 'Clasico'.
Argentine Martino and Italian Ancelotti, both hugely experienced and unlikely to be fazed by the occasion, are still tinkering with squads they inherited from Tito Vilanova and Jose Mourinho in the close season.
Ancelotti's task has been complicated by the arrivals of a host of new faces along with Bale, including Spain playmaker Isco and midfielder Asier Illarramendi, and Real have been less than convincing in several La Liga outings this term.
Although they won their opening nine matches, one short of the La Liga record held by Real, Barca have struggled to break down defence-minded teams despite Martino's attempts to introduce a more direct style of attack.
Whatever happens on Saturday will not necessarily be decisive for the La Liga title race but could have a profound psychological effect on the players.
Neymar, for one, is taking it all in his stride.
"I think the nerves are the same in all the games you play," he told Barca TV.
"I know that it's about a very important 'Clasico' but I think the feeling of having butterflies in your stomach is the same as before a normal match."
Real hold the upper hand in league games against Barca, with 70 victories to 64 since they first locked horns in 1929.
Under Mourinho last term, they drew 2-2 at the Nou Camp and won 2-1 at the Bernabeu but surrendered their Spanish title to Barca largely because of a stuttering start to the campaign.
If Barca lose, Atletico, beaten 1-0 at Espanyol last weekend, can go two points clear at the top with a win at home to Real Betis on Sunday (2000).