Lionel Messi: When Barcelona legend rugby tackled Real Madrid's Pepe

In the 2010s, El Clasico was a different beast.

Sure, meetings between Barcelona and Real Madrid are still great to watch in the present day, but they’re not quite the same.

When it was Pep Guardiola vs Jose Mourinho and Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo, El Clasico was sporting entertainment of the highest order.

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.

Lionel Messi after scoring a goal for Barcelona vs Real Madrid
BARCELONA, SPAIN – MAY 06: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou on May 6, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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.

Karim Benzema equalised, before Ronaldo (who else?) struck the decisive blow late on and it came just two minutes after Sergio Ramos picked up one of his 26 red cards in Real Madrid colours.

Champions League quiz: 20 questions on the all-time records

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Which team holds the record for longest unbeaten run in the UCL of 25 games?

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