EL CLÁSICO

How many Clásicos has Messi played? Goals, victories and defeats

Barcelona star Lionel Messi is set for a record-equalling Clásico appearance when the Blaugrana take on arch rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.

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How many Clásicos has Messi played? Goals, victories and defeats
ALBERT GEA REUTERS

Barcelona’s LaLiga visit to the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano on Saturday will see club great Lionel Messi appear in his 45th career Clásico against Real Madrid… and it could potentially be his last.

Messi's Barcelona future still up in the air

Messi, who attempted to leave Barça last summer before finally remaining at the Camp Nou, is out of contract at the end of June, and is yet to confirm whether he intends to renew his deal or call time on his 17-year stay in the Blaugrana first team.

Messi set for another Clásico record on Saturday

Since his first appearance against Madrid, on 19 November 2005 - a Ronaldinho-inspired, 3-0 Barça win at the Bernabéu that is chiefly remembered for the home fans’ applause for the Brazilian - Messi has racked up a few Clásico records, and is set to add another this weekend.

Having already scored more goals - 26 - and supplied more assists - 14 - than any other player in Clásico history, the Argentine is in line to draw level with Sergio Ramos as the fixture's highest ever appearance maker, as the Madrid captain is unable to feature at the Di Stéfano because of a calf injury.

Messi's 26 Clásico goals eight ahead of Di Stéfano, Cristiano Ronaldo

Messi’s Clásico goals haul far outstrips that of the game’s next-highest scorers, Madrid legends Alfredo di Stéfano and Cristiano Ronaldo, who both managed 18 in their time at the Bernabéu. Meanwhile, Barça’s second-top Clásico marksman is César Rodríguez, who netted 14 times against Los Blancos.

Messi also shares the record for the most Clásico hat-tricks: together with Jaime Lazcano, Santiago Bernabéu, Paulino Alcántara and Ferenc Puskas, he is one of just five men to have managed two trebles in the fixture.

Messi out to end recent Clásico barren run

Over the course of his career, only three clubs - Sevilla (38), Atlético Madrid (32) and Valencia (28) - have conceded more Messi goals than Real Madrid.

However, the forward is currently on something of a drought in games against Madrid, having failed to score in his last six Clásicos - his joint-longest goalless streak in the fixture. The 33-year-old’s most recent strike against Los Merengues came in a 2-2 LaLiga draw in May 2018.

Messi's recent form means you’ll get short odds on him avoiding a seventh straight Clásico without scoring, though. Since the turn of the year, he has bagged 19 goals in 20 games to help Barça close the gap on LaLiga leaders Atlético and book their place in the 2021 Copa del Rey final.

Messi involved in 19 Clásico victories

In his 44 Clásicos so far, Messi has registered 19 wins, 11 draws and 14 defeats.

Crunch Clásico as LaLiga title race hots up

Saturday's Clásico stands to have a significant bearing on the LaLiga title race - not least after Atlético ceded further ground at the head of the table last weekend, losing to Sevilla while Barcelona and Real Madrid, who sit second and third, respectively, both won.

In the wake of Atlético’s loss at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, indeed, Barça can now take a provisional two-point lead at the top if they defeat Madrid, while a win for Zinedine Zidane's side would see them move level on points with Atleti, ahead of Los Rojiblancos’ clash with Real Betis on Sunday evening.

At the start of February, Atlético led Barça and Madrid by 10 points, with a game in hand.

Follow live with AS English

You’ll be able to follow live-text coverage of Saturday’s Clásico with AS English. We’ll be building up to the game from about an hour ahead of its 3:00 pm EDT kick-off, before taking you through all the action at the Di Stéfano.