Lionel Messi ended his tenure at Barcelona as the club’s top scorer, top assist provider, and most decorated player with 35 trophies won with the team.
He was also ended as the highest scorer in several fixtures, including the most-watched tie in football history, El Clasico. Leo loved playing against Madrid, and it was evident given his mammoth 26 goals and 14 assists in 47 games.
During his peak years, he was impossible to contain for the Madrid defence, who relied on dirty tactics from Sergio Ramos, Pepe, and others in an attempt to contain him during games.
Ramos and Leo, especially, had a rivalry to remember, with the former experiencing the most defeats in El Clasico history.
Meanwhile, Madrid’s most decorated player ever, Marcelo, has revealed their ‘anti-Messi’ strategy that was discussed in the dressing room before El Clasicos.
“Messi did not talk during the games and I tried not to talk to him because he was quiet,” Marcelo said, as relayed by SPORT.
He also added, “We always said that we should leave him like that, because if you decided to obstruct him, you would provoke him and then he would get angry, and if he was angry, he became more and more difficult to handle.”
Marcelo has been on the receiving end of Messi’s greatness during El Clasicos several times, playing on the same wing as him. He has also first-hand endured the consequences of provoking the Argentine in 2017.
In April 2017, as Barcelona visited the Santiago Bernabeu, Messi was left with a blooded mouth after an elbow from Marcelo hit him in the face after the two contested for a 50-50 ball.
The Barcelona no. 10 scored the equaliser 14 minutes later, and then the iconic winner in the 92nd minute before lifting his shirt infront of the Madrid supporters.