Lionel Messi has neither scored nor assisted in El Clasico since Cristiano left Real Madrid in 2018
Real Madrid left Messi and his Barcelona side in distraught after they bagged a 2-0 win at home yesterday. Vinicius Junior held on to Toni Kroos’ pass and paved his way for the strike. Mariano Diaz came on as a substitute and added another goal in the dying minutes. This win secured the 73rd El Clasico win for Los Blancos in La Liga. Madrid is now one point clear with 12 matches remaining in the league. Both the teams drew goalless in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Barcelona had their chances with Lionel Messi having a one-on-one saved by Thibaut Courtois in the first half. Marcelo denied him again with a fantastic last-gasp tackle as Messi closed in on goal. Zizou got his tactic right as he set Madrid up pro-actively with two holding midfielders. Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde played out wide. The latter pair sat deep off the ball to basically form a flat midfield. The hardworking Valverde’s presence on the right flank ensured Jordi Alba little luck in attack and much to think about at the back.
It was a frustrating night for Barca as Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann both missed the golden opportunity to score. The Blaugrana finished with four shots on goal. On the other side, Real Madrid looked like the sharper team throughout the night. The whites of Madrid had 13 shots in the match and five on the frame. Real was able to quickly break the backline of a struggling Barca defense but had to wait till the 71st minute for the winner.
Is Leo hitting new lows?
According to sources, Lionel Messi has now failed to score or assist in the last 11 of his 15 Clasicos. Moreover, he has failed to make a mark in El Clasico ever since Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus. Barca’s 2-2 draw against Madrid was the last time Messi scored against them dating back to 2018. And Ronaldo too was on the scoresheet then bringing much sauce in the Clasico. Ronaldo was in the stands at Santiago Bernabeu last night to watch his former side grab the win.
The Argentine had his chances to score yesterday but saw himself denied with a Courtois save as well as a last-ditch tackle from Marcelo. The 32-year-old’s evening went from bad to even worse when he received a booking in the second half for a rash challenge on Casemiro. Barca’s talisman simply failed to instigate effectively against Real Madrid’s packed midfield. This lead to questions raising about his fitness after he was spotted seemingly limping earlier in the day. And here lies Barcelona’s biggest problem that if Messi fails to dazzle, they really have no one else to turn the game around.