Lionel Andres Messi is the top goalscorer and top assist provider in the most popular club game on the planet. He has scored some sumptuous goals against Los Blancos for the Blaugrana and has been the Catalans’ most pivotal performer when it comes to their arch-rivals for more than a decade.
The six time Ballon D’Or winner’s debut goal in the Clasico came almost one and a half decades ago, and he has been lighting up the fixture with his skills, talent and some even say his magic ever since.
As another El Clasico is in the offing, FootTheBall takes a look at the most iconic moments of perhaps the greatest footballer of all time in the most watched club game in the world.
10. May 2018, Barcelona 2 – 2 Real Madrid
Coming into this match Barcelona was undefeated in the league, having already wrapped the title, and was looking to finish the season unbeaten domestically. Luis Suarez opened the scoring for the home side courtesy of a Sergi Roberto cross, but the team from the Spanish capital equalised through Cristiano Ronaldo (who was making his last El Clasico appearance) and Roberto was given a red card just before half-time.
With Barcelona staring at a numerical disadvantage in the second half, Messi stepped up for the Blaugrana as he put home a brilliant low finish after some clever dribbling to restore the Catalans’ lead and became the record goalscorer in El Clasicos at the Camp Nou.
7 – Lionel Messi has now scored more La Liga goals at the Camp Nou than any other player in El Clasico history (Paco Gento, six). Brilliant. pic.twitter.com/ApJ8qEJxnG
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 6, 2018
9. December 2017, Real Madrid 0 – 3 Barcelona
Prior to his game, Barcelona had lost the 2017 Spanish Super Cup tie to bitter rivals Real Madrid and were looking to exact some revenge at the home ground of Real Madrid.
Scores remained level in the first half, but the game suddenly burst into life in the second half as Messi scored one goal from the spot and set up another in injury time to humiliate Real Madrid in their own backyard and make a statement of intent about winning the title simultaneously.
8. October 2012, Barcelona 2 – 2 Real Madrid
This El Clasico saw La Pulga score a beautiful 30-yard free kick in a memorable draw at the Camp Nou during the 2012-13 season when the Catalans went on to lift the league title.
Messi scored both of Barcelona’s goals – the first being a poacher-style goal inside the box and the second a spectacular curling effort from a set piece situation that left Madrid’s captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas trying to grasp thin air. This tie was an allegorical stand-off between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – who also scored a brace for Los Blancos.
7. May 2009, Real Madrid 2 – 6 Barcelona
This was a historic win for Pep Guardiola’s legendary team, both literally and metaphorically. The win at the Santiago Bernabeu was considered by many to be symbolising a title win in itself, given the total dominance of Barcelona over the entire match.
This Barcelona is sometimes touted as the best ever club team to play the beautiful game. Messi was at the heart of the Catalans’ attack, orchestrating moves deftly for his teammates and he ended up on the scoresheet two times while also recording an assist.
6. August 2011, Barcelona 3 – 2 Real Madrid
Lionel Messi began the 2011-12 season in breath-taking fashion as he put up two mesmerising displays in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid – he was involved in all the goals that Barcelona scored across the two legs of the competition. Having registered a goal and an assist in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Argentine took things to another level as he scored the crucial winning goal in the final minutes of the second leg tie to help the Catalans win against their arch-rivals.
5. March 2014, Real Madrid 3 – 4 Barcelona
The 2013-14 season wasn’t particularly reminiscent for Barcelona fans as the Azulgrana didn’t win any silverware at the end of the season. Ousted of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, losing to Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final in the final minutes of the game and being pipped to the league title on the final day of the season by Los Rojiblancos.
But one silver lining came in the form of Barcelona’s win against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, in which Messi a scored a perfect hat-trick while setting up fellow teammate Andres Iniesta on their way to a historic win in El Clasico history.
4. April 2011, Real Madrid 0 – 2 Barcelona
Barcelona clashed against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League and Messi stamped the mark of his authority in this tie. The first leg at Santiago Bernabeu saw Messi score the only two goals of the entire tie in addition to controlling the goings-on for large parts of the match.
The first goal was a traditional striker’s effort, meeting a cross at the front post, his second goal was truly sublime as he took on the entire Real Madrid back-line single-handedly – slotting away the goal even as Casillas attempted to save his shot from close range.
3. November 2005, Real Madrid 0 – 3 Barcelona
This was a match that was dominated by Barcelona’s Ronaldinho as he scored a brace and got a standing ovation from the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu, but it was also Messi’s first ever El Clasico appearance and he showed all the bearings of becoming a footballing great and following in Ronaldinho’s footsteps.
He took on opponents like Roberto Carlos, Sergio Ramos and Zinedine Zidane fearlessly and even registered an assist before being substituted for another Barcelona legend, Andres Iniesta.
2. April 2017, Real Madrid 2 – 3 Barcelona
Coming into this match, Barcelona knew that nothing less than a win would suffice if they were to harbour any dreams of winning the La Liga title. The scoring was opened by Real Madrid in the first half, Marcelo attempted to injure the Argentine, but it only spurred him on to take the match by the scruff of its neck as Messi scored two goals after the run-in with the Brazilian defender and it is perhaps the Barcelona captain’s second goal that will echo through the ages (it was his 500th goal for Barcelona). With scores level at 2-2, Messi won it for the Catalans with the last kick of the game as his shot from the edge of the box went in to silence the crowd at the Bernabeu.
1. March 2007, Barcelona 3 – 3 Real Madrid
Scoring your first hat-trick at 19 years of age is commendable, but to score it against one of the best teams in the world and that too in a match that is considered to be the biggest club game on Earth is no mean feat, and Messi did exactly that.
The then teenaged Messi scored three goals for Barcelona in what was his debut hat-trick for the club against Real Madrid at Camp Nou. He outdid well-established footballers like Nistelrooy and Beckham who were a part of the Galactico team set-up that was the brainchild of Florentino Perez.
Today in 2007, Messi scored his first hattrick vs Real Madrid at the age of 19. pic.twitter.com/XSC4qn92wo
— Barca Galaxy (@barcagalaxy) March 10, 2016