As always, everyone believed this season’s El Clasico’s would have a major say in the La Liga title race.
Usually, though, Real Madrid and Barcelona enter these matches within touching distance of each other in the table knowing that a victory could make all the difference. This season, it was slightly different.
Madrid went into the first La Liga Clasico knowing that they needed a win to reduce the 11-point gap between them and Barcelona at the top of the table.
The Catalan club would probably have been satisfied with a point but they got a whole lot more than that - they got all three.
After a cagey first-half, it looked as though a moment of magic would be needed to win the match.
But it didn’t take anything too magical to open the scoring in the 54th-minute.
Ivan Rakitic waltzed through the Madrid midfield with Mateo Kovacic playing far too much attention to Lionel Messi rather than the ball.
Rakitic played in Sergi Roberto, who squared first time for Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan has refound his goalscoring touch in recent weeks and made no mistake to put the visitors ahead.
While Messi didn’t play a role in that match in terms of touching the ball, his sheer presence was enough.
But 10 minutes later, Barca doubled their lead and this time it was all about the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
He played an incredible pass to Suarez and, after his shot was saved, Paulinho’s header was blocked with his hand by Dani Carvajal.
The ball did eventually find the back of the net but the referee had pointed to the spot and sent off the Spaniard.
Up stepped Messi to score his 25th El Clasico goal and his 19th of the season.
The Argentinan then provided the third, pulling the ball back to Aleix Vidal.
The plaudits started pouring in and football Twitter account, SPORF, wrote: “Lionel Messi in El Clasico:
Goals: 25 - Most In History Assists:
13 - Most In History
Hattricks: 2 - Most In History
King of El Clasico”
A fitting tribute.
GARY LINEKER'S TWEET ABOUT MESSI
However, former Barcelona player Gary Lineker felt there was something missing. He simply quoted the tweet and wrote: “Best in history.”
Well, we’re not arguing with that.
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