Barcelona star Lionel Messi is set for a record-breaking Clásico appearance when the Blaugrana face rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.
Barcelona’s La Liga visit to Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano on Saturday will see the great Lionel Messi take part in his 45th Clásico career against Real Madrid… and it could be his last.
Messi, who tried to leave Barca last summer before eventually staying at Camp Nou, is out of contract at the end of June and has yet to confirm whether he intends to renew his contract. contract or put an end to his 17-year stay in the Blaugrana first team.
Since his first appearance against Madrid on November 19, 2005 – a Ronaldinho-inspired 3-0 Barca win at the Bernabéu mostly remembered for the applause from home fans for the Brazilian – Messi has racked up a few Clásico records, and is ready to add another this weekend.
Having already scored more goals – 26 – and provided more assists – 14 – than any other player in Clásico history, the Argentine is on loan to match Sergio Ramos as the highest appearances creator of the story of the duel, the Madrid captain being unable to appear in Di Stéfano due to a calf injury.
Messi’s goals in the Clásico far exceed those of the game’s other top scorers, Madrid legends Alfredo di Stéfano and Cristiano Ronaldo, both of whom were 18 at the time at the Bernabéu.
Meanwhile, Barca’s Clásico second scorer is César Rodríguez, who has scored 14 times against Los Blancos.
Messi also shares the record for most Clásico hat-tricks: along with Jaime Lazcano, Santiago Bernabéu, Paulino Alcántara and Ferenc Puskas, he is one of five men to have two hat-tricks in the game.
During his career, only three clubs – Sevilla (38), Atlético Madrid (32) and Valencia (28) – have conceded more goals to Messi than Real Madrid.