The Camp Nou was the site of yet another disaster for FC Barcelona, as faithful Culers watched their club go down 1-0 in La Liga against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. The result has practically handed the title to Real Madrid, who are 15 points ahead with only five games left to play.

The latest defeat came at the heels of their Europa League exit at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt and a La Liga loss against Cadiz in midweek.

Real Madrid only need to take home one point in order to mathematically claim the La Liga Santander title, and they can achieve that with a draw against Espanyol next week. It's only a matter of time for the title race to formally be wrapped up by Los Blancos, but the competition is still heated for the three remaining Champions League spots.

Barcelona surged to second place after an uptick in performance since the new year, but they have collapsed completely since defeating Real Madrid 4-0 in El Clasico last month. They are currently sitting level with Sevilla with 63 points, with Atletico Madrid just two points behind. More importantly, fifth-placed Real Betis are only six points away.

This means that Barcelona are still in danger of losing out on a spot in next season's Champion's League.

Manager Xavi Hernandez now finds himself under immense pressure, after initially appearing to be the Messiah that could save the troubled club. On Sunday, they conceded a very early goal, similar to the scenarios in their past two losses.

Alvaro Garcia managed to break away from the pack to confront Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the seventh minute, scoring the lone goal of the match. Rayo Vallecano only needed to protect their lead for the rest of the match to secure all three points.

Gavi proved to be Barcelona's most dangerous player, but the woodwork denied his best attempt. He also got taken down in the area twice, but a penalty was denied on both occasions. Barcelona continued to bombard Rayo Vallecano's goal, but even 14 minutes of stoppage time did not allow the Blaugrana the chance to find the breakthrough.

It was a memorable night for Rayo Vallecano, who have given themselves a ten-point gap from the relegation zone. Their recent victories against Barcelona and Espanyol have ensured that they will likely stay in the top flight next season.

Barcelona need to get back on track, with second place in danger against Sevilla and Atletico. If they drop to third, that will also take them out of the Spanish Super Cup next season.

Newly-appointed Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez (right) alongside club president Joan Laporta at Camp Nou on Monday. AFP / LLUIS GENE