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Messi suffers longest Clasico goal drought as Barca fall to Madrid

22:32 BST 10/04/2021
Messi Real Madrid Barcelona Clasico 2021
More than 1,000 days have passed since the Argentine last managed to make the scoresheet against his team's arch-rivals

Barcelona star Lionel Messi once more failed to hit the net in the Clasico to stretch his goal drought against Real Madrid to seven games, the longest of his professional career. 

The Argentine was powerless to stop the Catalans falling to their second Liga defeat of the season against their arch-rivals as the Merengue ran out 2-1 winners on Saturday. 

No player has scored more goals in the fixture, but he has lost the scoring touch in recent years.

Messi's Clasico woes

It was another frustrating Clasico evening for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner as he failed to break down a Madrid defence shorn of starting centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. 

Messi mustered seven shots, including two on target, but neither managed to escape the grasp of Thibaut Courtois in the Blancos net. 

Seven games have now come and gone since his last strike in the showpiece fixture, marking an unwanted record for the usually prolific forward. 

Not since May 2018 has he managed to net against Madrid, more than 1000 days ago. 

Curiously, that match was also Cristiano Ronaldo's final Clasico appearance before moving to Juventus. 

Messi has thus failed to score once since his long-time rival left La Liga, having netted a record 26 times - more than anyone else in Barca or Madrid history - by 2018. 

The question now is, with so much speculation over his future, whether Saturday's rain-sodden Clasico will be Leo's last.

The bigger picture

Saturday's reverse was built on a horrendous first half from Ronald Koeman's visitors, who went down 2-0 within the opening half-hour. 

Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Madrid, before Toni Kroos hit with a free-kick that took a deflection of two Barca players on its way past Marc Andre ter Stegen. 

Barca fought back after the break and pulled within reach when Oscar Mingueza beat Courtois from close-range, but they missed their last chance to level through Ilaix Moriba as the substitute rattled the crossbar in injury time. 

Madrid now sit top of La Liga ahead of Atletico Madrid by virtue of their superior head-to-head record, albeit having played one game more than their neighbours, while the Catalans are a point back in third. 

Atletico can regain the summit if they manage at least a point against Betis on Sunday, but with just one point currently separating the top three 2020-21 is shaping up to be the most thrilling season's finish in years in the Spanish top flight. 

One omen runs against Barca's hopes, though: they have never managed to win La Liga in a year where Madrid have triumphed in the Clasico both at home and away.

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