Sunday, October 24, will be a watershed in La Liga. The last time El Clasico without Messi & Ronaldo was in 2018 due to Messi’s injury and Ronaldo’s move. Following Messi’s quit, the El Clasico of this weekend is the real sense of El Clasico without Messi & Ronaldo and a defining moment in La Liga history.
The next Clasico will be without Messi and without Cristiano Ronaldo. The absence of the Portuguese was inevitable, while that of the Pulce had not been taken into consideration after the relationship with Barca was mended last summer. The match between Real Madrid and Barcelona has not already been the match between the two best players in the world for three years, but now not even Messi will play it anymore.
Barcelona suffering underestimation of Messi and his goals
Barcelona let their top player go after his determination to try a new league with PSG. Two months later, they are crying out for a player who still understands scoring as an art form.
Barcelona without Lionel Messi is a travesty indeed for all football fans, not just those of the Blaugrana.
When a club’s talisman is out of action for any period of time, the entertainment value, team dynamic and mood generally alters.
Perhaps with Barca more so than any other club given how integral the Argentinian is to almost every aspect of play.
Team titles are all that interest the Barca No. 10. La Liga crowns, Champions League triumphs and Spanish Cup wins.
Ten goals in last season’s Champions League was the fifth time he has top-scored in European football’s premier competition. His goal against Athletic Club de Bilbao in the Spanish Cup final showed his genius to its fullest effect.
Goal after goal in the league campaign last season saw him top score once again for the club over the course of a season. His importance was not in doubt.
Already this season we’ve seen the effect of a Barcelona side sans Messi. To coin a phrase, ‘No Messi, no party.’
Take another look at the 90 minutes Barca played at Sevilla and then cast a cursory eye back over Jenson’s facetious attempt at sensationalism. Statistics can be massaged to make the most convenient of arguments when required.
What Messi’s absence does do, and has done, of course is give other teams a fillip before a ball has even been kicked. Barca themselves have looked devoid of ideas at times providing further impetus for their opponents to press high and work the Catalans hard defensively.
There isn’t the outlet or the out-ball it would appear if Messi isn’t on the pitch.
Can it really be logically argued that Barca are better off without their best-ever player in the starting XI?
Ronaldo’s El Clasico record
According to Sportskeeda, “Ronaldo is the only player to have scored in 6 consecutive matches in El Clasico.
“He is also the only player to have scored 11 goals at the Camp Nou as well as the most prolific European player in the clash, with 17 goals to his name.”
Former Barcelona manager, Pep Guardiola, believes Real have lost between 50 and 60 goals by the Ronaldo sale.
Talking to Marca, Guardiola said, “With or without Cristiano, Real Madrid are a top team, but they have lost a lot, 50 or 60 goals.
“He’s an incredible player, not only for his goals but also assists in important moments, he is irreplaceable.”
No individual can fill the void – the personality, the talent, the history, nor the impact – left by arguably the two greatest players the sport has ever seen. But the two biggest clubs in world football can.
Ronaldo & Messi’s stats of El Clasico
Ronaldo has played 30 games against Barcelona as a Real Madrid player and scored 18 goals. 8 wins, 8 draws & 14 losses.
Messi has played 45 games in El Clasico and scored 26 goals. 19 wins, 11 draws & 15 losses.
The end of an era or the start of a new one? As football becomes more and more about individuals, Barcelona v Real Madrid can take the reigns from its two main protagonists to reassume its role as the biggest and most important rivalry in world football