Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid: Lionel Messi hasn't scored in El Clasico since Ronaldo left La Liga


Barcelona have got problems and Real Madrid were more than happy to exploit them in Saturday's Clasico. 

Ronald Koeman's first clash with Zinedine Zidane ended in a 3-1 victory for Los Blancos at Camp Nou. 

Federico Valverde opened the scoring just five minutes in, but Ansu Fati quickly hit back - in doing so becoming the youngest goalscorer in the fixture in the twenty-first century. 

That was about as good as it got for the hosts. Sergio Ramos restored Real's lead from the penalty spot before Luka Modric put the icing on the cake in the 90th minute. 

Looking at that scoresheet, you'll notice Lionel Messi's name was conspicuously absent. 

There have been times in the past when he has terrorised Barca's greatest rivals without actually scoring himself, but this wasn't one of those occasions. 

It's been a relatively slow start to the season for the Argentine, who handed in a transfer window this summer. 

While it should be no real cause for alarm - he's still scoring at a rate of once every other game - he's been misfiring in El Clasico for quite some time. 

In fact, Barcelona's number 10 hasn't scored against Madrid since his eternal nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo left the Bernabeu for Juventus in the summer of 2018. 

On that occasion, the Portuguese scored in the 14th minute of a 2-2 draw, while Messi managed to put his side ahead in the second half. 

Gareth Bale then scored the equaliser. Yes, even the Welshman who's spent the last two years playing golf has a more recent Clasico goal than Messi. 

So what's going on? 


The two sides have met seven times in that period, though for one of those encounters the 32-year-old was ruled out with a broken forearm. 

It's also worth noting that of those seven games, Barcelona only won three. So while it may look like some personal decline with Ronaldo no longer present in La Liga to spur him on, Messi's shortcomings have gone hand-in-hand with his club's wider demise. 

Under Ernesto Valverde in particular, the Blaugrana were devoid of ideas and often entered the fixture with far too much trepidation. 

That hasn't exactly helped their star forward. Yet the history books will ultimately still prove him king of the Clasico, having scored 26 goals in his 41 appearances - a record in the fixture. 

If anything, it's impressive that he recorded most of those goals at a time when Ronaldo's presence made Real a much more formidable outfit. 

It's just a pity the pair won't be reunited in the Champions League. 

Ronaldo has been ruled out of Juventus' group game against Barcelona because of a second positive coronavirus test. 

Fate is unlikely to bring them together many more times. 

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