In the 2010s, El Clasico was a different beast.
There was nearly always drama on the touchline and on the pitch, while Messi and Ronaldo usually produced some magic.
Messi’s record in El Clasico fixtures is quite astounding. In 46 games against Real Madrid, the little Argentine scored 26 goals and assisted a further 14.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s collection of iconic moments against Barcelona’s arch nemesis is absolutely enormous.
And Messi was also no stranger to some s***housery when playing against Real Madrid.
In one 2016 fixture, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar pretty much rugby tackled Pepe inside the box from a Barcelona corner.
Messi morphing into an NFL linebacker for a few seconds allowed teammate Gerard Pique to escape Pepe’s clutches…
Video: Messi’s wild tackle on Pepe
Who knew Messi had that in him, eh?
The diminutive genius may have been getting a little bit of revenge on Pepe.
Four years prior to the match in the video above, the Portuguese centre-back appeared to stamp on Messi’s hand during a heated El Clasico encounter.
Video: Pepe’s stamp on Messi in 2012
Yeah, Pepe knew exactly what he was doing there.
So maybe Messi’s rugby-esque tackle was premeditated, although it didn’t help Barcelona pick up a win over Real Madrid.
The Blaugrana lost the match 2-1 after Pique had put them ahead early in the second half.