El Clasico: Lionel Messi 'does everything for Barcelona', Benzema claims

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Even before Barcelona seemed to lurch from crisis to crisis, the phrase 'Messi FC' had become popular with rival fans. 

There's no shame in the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and arguably the best player of all time being the standout performer for the Blaugrana. 

However, the accusation holds that the club have been far too reliant on him. 

Look at the facts. In his 769 appearances for Barcelona, Messi has scored no fewer than 179 match-winning goals. 

This season alone, he's 18(!!!) goals clear of their next highest goalscorer, Antoine Griezmann, with 28 strikes to the Frenchman's 10. 

So while Messi's form in 2021 has been sensational and ultimately, something to be celebrated, it's easy to see why the burden has sometimes appeared a little heavy on the Argentine's shoulders. 

Nor is the pressure ever greater than in El Clasico, with the rivalry returning for its latest instalment on Saturday night. 

The stakes are huge. Atletico Madrid don't play until the following day, so Barcelona can go top with a win. Lose, and Real Madrid can usurp Ronald Koeman's side in second. 

The mind games are underway and Karim Benzema hasn't missed the opportunity to have a dig as he began previewing this weekend's match. 

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In an interview with LaLiga quoted by AS, Los Blancos' striker admitted he and his teammates will be treating it like a final - but he also had some thoughts on Messi. 

“They always have possession, they have a good goalkeeper and Messi, the player who does everything for Barcelona," he said.

"We have to be careful because he is very dangerous."

Messi's teammates might not take kindly to the suggestion that he "does everything for Barcelona" - though who can really argue with that after the last few years, frankly? 

"For me, the Clásico is the best game in the world and not only for me, for everyone, because it involves two teams that have a lot of history and it is always a very important game," Benzema added. 

"As always, it will be a difficult game against a team that likes to have the ball. We also like to have it. It will be played in the middle and like in in the first game this season, we will come on the field to win because for us it is a final."

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