Messi

The incredible Leo Messi stats following Barcelona’s El Clasico win

A number of amazing statistics regarding Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi have come to the fore this afternoon, after the Argentine netted during his side’s 3-0 hammering of Real Madrid.

Rivals reunite

Spain’s two biggest sides went head to head in a crucial La Liga matchup at the Bernabeu today, with the potential for a hammer blow to reigning champions Los Blancos’ title hopes.

Zinedine Zidane’s men came into the clash sitting a full 11 points behind their fierce rivals in the Spanish top-flight table (with a game in hand), with many already claiming that a loss for Real would effectively put an end to any hopes that the capital giants have of retaining their crown.

Teams

The lineups of each side were announced an hour prior to kick-off, with Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde having been forced to once again opt for Thomas Vermaelen alongside Gerard Pique at the heart of his side’s defence, with Sergi Roberto maintaining his place at right-back, and Paulinho given his first taste of El Clasico from the first-whistle:

Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, opted for strength in the middle of the park for his side, with all of Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic (who was sensational versus Barca in the Spanish Super Cup) given the nod, meaning Isco somewhat surprisingly had to make do with a spot on the bench.

Los Blancos’ strength in depth was aptly showcased by the embarrassment of riches on their bench this afternoon, with all of Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Isco ready to be introduced in the case that the hosts required an attacking boost:

Hard fought

After Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal correctly ruled out for offside with just 2 minutes on the clock, proceedings turned surprisingly cagey for the 20 minutes that followed this afternoon, with most of the action taking place in the middle of the park.

Chances were few and far between throughout the opening 45 minutes, with the most clear-cut falling to Paulinho and Karim Benzema, the latter of whom was unlucky to see his header come back off the post.

3-0

However, a moment of team brilliance lit up the clash following the interval, with a wonderful Barcelona move eventually ending with Sergi Roberto squaring for Luis Suarez to smash home for his 7th goal in his last 6 La Liga games.

And things soon went from bad to worse for the reigning champions, as Suarez missed two golden opportunities to clinch his brace, before Paulinho’s header was saved on the line by the hand of Dani Carvajal.

The Spanish stopper was immediately given his marching orders, with Lionel Messi stepping up to smash home the resulting spot-kick.

Aleix Vidal made it 3-0 to the Blaugrana in injury-time following Messi’s pullback, ensuring a thoroughly embarrassing afternoon for the hosts.

Legend

While his goal proved crucial for Barca in terms of killing the clash off as a contest, Lionel Messi’s strike this afternoon also saw a number of remarkable individual statistics come to the fore regarding the Argentinian magician’s goalscoring exploits:

(The 3rd of the records below became Messi’s today. He already held the rest)

Extra stat:

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