Lionel Messi brought a huge positive change in Barcelona’s overall record against Real Madrid.
Barcelona registered their fourth consecutive league victory over Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu last night.
Ivan Rakitic’s goal made the sole difference in the game as Barcelona extended their lead over Real Madrid to 12 points in the La Liga table. Real Madrid remain third, while Atletico Madrid can now stretch the gap against their city rivals to five points.
Real Madrid have failed to beat Barcelona in four attempts this season, losing three games. Julen Lopetegui was sacked immediately after Real’s 5-1 loss to Barca at Camp Nou earlier in the season.
However, Santiago Solari failed to inspire Real Madrid to victory as well, as Barcelona beat them in the semifinal of the Copa del Rey.
Mourinho about Barca and specially Rakitic. This is how great Rakitic actually is but Igechukwu from Nigeria, Ranjeet from India and Asad from Pakistan think he’s shit and a backpass merchant.
— G (@PassToMessi) March 2, 2019
Barcelona’s winning goal against Real showed how versatile the team is: Sergi Roberto at RW, Messi dropped to CM, Rakitic went forward. Casemiro stayed on Messi and Ramos had to cover Rakitic, opening space for his forward run. Vinicius/Kroos just watched it happen #ElClasico pic.twitter.com/3KgaKKuDkt
— Last Row (@lastrowview) March 3, 2019
Real Madrid have conceded 10 goals in the four games against Barcelona, scoring only twice.
With their win, Barcelona also took a lead in the overall El Clasico wins between the two sides for the first time in over 87 years. Justifiably, the Catalan giants achieved the feat in the era of Lionel Messi.
And we don’t claim it because Messi is one of the greatest players of all time. We claim it, because there are stats to back the statement.
When Lionel Messi made his debut for Barcelona in 2004, the Catalan side was far behind Real Madrid in the head-to-head stats.
Before Messi, Barcelona trailed Real Madrid by a massive 21-win difference in the all-time stats. While Real had won 87 games in the El Clasico, Barcelona had won only 66.
However, the Catalan side successfully overtook their arch-rivals with a 1-0 win over Real last night. The record currently stands at 95-96. Interestingly, both the teams have now on 72 league-wins each in the head-to-head stats.
📊 [Opta] | Santiago Bernabeu is the only stadium where Barcelona have won away from home in each of their last three LaLiga games since 2016/17 season so far. pic.twitter.com/sdzgpTLX4i
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) March 3, 2019
After last night’s victory, FC Barcelona has won more Clasicos than Real Madrid. It had not happened since 1932. pic.twitter.com/il8JHQtemG
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 3, 2019
But, wait. There’s more.
Barcelona had only won 14 of the 75 El Clasico games at Santiago Bernabeu before the debut of Lionel Messi. The win percentage of the side stood at a meagre 19%.
However, since Messi’s debut, Barcelona have won 12 of the 22 games at Santiago Bernabeu and are on course of equalling the all-time record before Lionel Messi’s debut already. The winning percentage shot to 55% in the games where Messi took part.
Naturally, Barcelona’s overall record at Santiago Bernabeu also improved to 26% wins.
Imagine. Barcelona, who only had 19% wins at Santiago Bernabeu in 88 years, underwent a staggering 7% increase in merely 15 years.
There’s no prizes in guessing that Lionel Messi is the all-time highest goalscorer in the El Clasico history. The Argentinian forward has scored 26 goals in the clash across all competitions – eight more than the two second-highest goalscorers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alfredo de Stefano.
Since Lionel Messi’s debut, Real Madrid have won four league titles. Barcelona, on the other hand, are cruising towards their tenth.
Barcelona are in pole position to win a second consecutive domestic double as well, as they reached the final of the Copa del Rey earlier this week. The Catalan giants will face Valencia to retain the title.
And this conveniently brings us to the head-to-head record in Spain’s domestic cup competition. With Lionel Messi, Barcelona lifted six Copa del Rey titles. Real Madrid, in the same time, has won only two.
In the European football, Real Madrid had been a dominant side over Barcelona. However, since Messi’s debut, the Catalan side has been equally brilliant.
Both the sides have won four Champions League titles since the Argentinian donned the Barcelona jersey.
Fair to say, the arrival of Lionel Messi has significantly put a stall on Real Madrid’s dominance over Barcelona in Spanish football. The Barca captain is going nowhere anytime soon, so we can expect him to even better the record for his side.