It has been 11 years since the last time it happened, and so, theSportsRush looks at how the El Clasico without Messi and Ronaldo looked.
In the 26th minute of the match between Barcelona and Sevilla, Lionel Messi fell awkwardly on his arm, and an entire fan-base gasped.
Times haven’t been favorable for Barcelona. They’ve struggled in the league, accumulating only 15 points from 8 games before they faced Sevilla, and at the time of the match, third in the league behind Deportivo Alaves and their opponents.
Messi was involved in both the goals – assisting the first, and scoring the second. And so, when Messi was forced off with an injury, Barca fans were justifiably worried.
It is now official that Barcelona will be without Messi when they face Real Madrid at Camp Nou next week.
And so, this would be the first time an El Clasico would be played out without Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on either sides since 2007.
How did the El Clasico look like at that time, and what has changed since then? Let’s take a look!
So, when did it happen? And why?
December 23, 2007: Messi suffered from a hamstring injury and was ruled out of the game against Real Madrid.
So who started in his place?
Barcelona were a team full of stars back then, too. The front-three had Ronaldinho, Eto’o and Iniesta. Yaya Toure, Xavi and Deco were the three midfielders!
Woah, I guess they cruised past Real Madrid then?
No. They lost 1-0.
WHAT? What was Real Madrid’s attack like?
Raul, van Nistelrooy, and.. Robinho. Julio Baptista scored the only goal in the game, though.
Right. Give me some numbers. I love stats.
Since that game, there have been 72 goals in 20 El Clasico games in La Liga. 1/3rd of them, i.e. 24 goals have been scored by Messi and Ronaldo.
The two clubs have played 14 games against each across all the other competitions. In 38 goals scored, Messi and Ronaldo have scored 17 between them!
That’s crazy! What has changed since one of them missed the Clasico?
Aah. Take my hand.. here you go:
- Ricardo Kaka won the Balon d’Or in 2007.
- Manchester City have now become the best team in the league. But in 2007/08, they conceded 8 goals to Middlesbrough, who faced relegation a year later.
- David Moyes was thriving at Everton. His team finished 5th in the Premier League. The good ol’ days..
- Fernando Torres joined Liverpool from Atletico Madrid and took the league by storm. He scored 24 goals but finished second to a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 31 goals at Manchester United.
- In Germany, Vfb Stuttgart were the defending champions. A year later, Wolfsburg would lift the title. Jurgen Klopp hadn’t arrived at Borussia Dortmund yet.
- Barcelona, meanwhile, finished 3rd in that season. It was the lowest the Catalan side has finished ever since.
Apart from football, this is what happened the last time one of Messi and Ronaldo missed the El Clasico:
- J.K. Rowling released the final book of the Harry Potter series.
- Tobey Maguire featured in the final installment of the Spiderman series.
- The United States was yet to have its first African-American president.
- Steve Jobs announced the iPhone.
Oh yes it is. But as Real and Barca play each other next week, it will be a quick warm-up to something which will be a regularity in a few years – the absence of Messi!