A topsy-turvy encounter in the Spanish capital delivered five goals, including a last-gasp winner, a red card and more records for a mercurial Argentine playmaker.
Messi became the leading goalscorer in La Liga Clasico encounters, while also reaching 500 efforts in all competitions for Barca.
He reached that landmark with a stoppage-time effort to snatch a 3-2 victory, and nobody at Camp Nou is about to let Madrid forget an iconic image from the evening as Messi celebrated his dramatic strike.
Neymar was suspended for Sunday’s Clasico clash, with the Brazilian stung with a three-match ban for his reaction to being dismissed against Malaga on April 8.
His absence was not felt, though, as Messi produced another talismanic performance to secure three points which have Barca back at the top of the La Liga table – albeit having played a game more than Madrid.
Luis Suarez also played the full 90 minutes at the Bernabeu, with his hard running helping to keep the home defence on its toes.
The MSN forward will not be reunited on Wednesday against Osasuna, but Luis Enrique could send his fearsome frontline into battle during a derby date with Espanyol on Saturday.