The Fouls: Real Madrid vs Lionel Messi

Several days have now passed since Barcelona seized the bragging rights after El Clasico, but the fallout between the Spanish giants has unsurprisingly failed to subside.

Finding himself a central figure in the post-match talking points, much has been made of Real Madrid’s harsh, physical treatment handed out to Lionel Messi. And in a surprising twist, Barca legend Johan Cryuff opted to turn on the diminutive Argentine, arguing that the Barca number 10 had it coming.

According to Cryuff, “They [Madrid] kicked him about all throughout the game but he was partly asking for it. You are always going to be fouled when you play in the centre of the field. Madrid knew this and they were ready and they kept kicking him knowing they won’t be punished. If he [Messi] had played closer to the penalty area, then he would have drawn a direct free-kick when he was fouled, or even a penalty if he was inside the box. If you know that you are going to get beaten up, then at least make sure the team benefit from it.”

Highlights of all the fouls and tough tackles dished out to Messi can be seen here, while highlights of Messi’s individual performance against Real Madrid can be seen here.