Leo Messi’s expression at the end of the Clásico said it all. The Argentinean’s frustration at the end of the game as he trudged from the pitch was born of another ineffectual performance in the biggest fixture of the season for Barcelona and Real Madrid. He hardly supplied his teammates, ignoring a pass to Ivan Rakitic in the second half when the Croatian was in a good position, and he missed his own best chance of the game when put through by Andrés Iniesta, dragging his shot wide of Keylor Navas’ post. Once again, Messi ended a Clásico with his name absent from the score sheet.
All-time Clásico top scorer
Since he overtook Alfredo di Stéfano as the fixture’s highest all-time scorer in the 2013-14 season with a hat-trick, taking his Clásico tally to 21 compared to his compatriot's 18, Messi has failed to find the net in six games against Real Madrid.
In 2014-15 Messi took a back seat in the Liga Clásicos as Neymar scored in the Bernabéu (1-3) and Luis Suárez and Jérémy Mathieu provided the goals in Camp Nou (2-1).
Messi was also off target in the Copa del Rey final in 2013-14 under Gerardo Martino as Real won 2-1 with goals from Ángel di María and Gareth Bale. The unlikely source of Marc Barta provided Barça’s strike.
Last season Messi was used from the bench for the 4-0 win in the Bernabéu and disappeared in the 2-1 loss in Camp Nou.
Until the last international break the Argentinean had been in good form. In a virtuoso display in the Sánchez Pizjuán he scored the first and set up the second in a 2-1 win. Since then he has ups and downs for club and country but everybody expected him to prove decisive in the Clásico. As it was, Messi’s dry run continued on an overall disappointing day for Barcelona.
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