25 April, 2017
Lionel Messi feels Barcelona have taken an important step towards winning La Liga with their sensational 3-2 win over Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu, but has warned they still have a long way to go.
There was still time for one huge twist in the title race, though, as Sergi Roberto's lung-bursting run led a Barca counter-attack to feed Jordi Alba and his cross was smashed into the corner by Messi.
He stood there for a few seconds, staring at the fans, as if making sure they knew who was really in charge. He now has 23 goals in games between the two clubs, five more than Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano and eight more than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sergio Garcia's green jacket tour made a special stop on Sunday at El Clasico, the latest match between two of the world's biggest football (AKA soccer) powerhouses: Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Messi in the 77th minute and that left Barcelona in a strong position, until Rodriguez fired home at the near post. Although the 30-year-old was unable to win an Olympic medal at home with Brazil, she remains one of the game's most influential figures. "We are really happy for the victory and for him, because we need him". And for the club, it's a blessing.
"We have achieved our objective, we have a chance and we have to take it". Barcelona and Real Madrid hate each other so much that to simply draw is never enough because to draw is to give their opponent hope and that's the last thing they want.
Messi was even left with a bloodied nose after a collision with Marcelo - who had no intention of hurting the Barcelona man - but this did nothing to deter his drive and determination to turn his team's fortunes around.
"Messi made the difference for his team, but it is not only Messi".
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To the cheers from supporters, he said: "I want to be the president of patriots against the threat of nationalists. To avoid a runoff one of the candidates today would need to garner more than 50 percent of the vote.
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There are few players that are always there in the key moments, and the fans will be grateful for what Cristiano has done here. This season we've come up against perhaps the strongest side in the competition. "I think we deserved more", fumed Ancelotti.
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"He saw Ronaldo scoring his 100th goal in the Champions League before him". The Bilbao hitman has 24 goals against Los Blancos - a milestone that should be surpassed in the coming years.
The Spain centre-half felt that the dismissal - his fifth in Clasico history - was "excessive", while Madrid director Emilio Butragueno felt that the decision was debatable.
Although it appeared a complete accident, Messi was left with blood pouring from his mouth and needed treatment on the sidelines before he was able to continue.
The five-time Ballon d'Or victor has registered 402 goals with his left foot, 74 with the right, 22 with the head and two with the chest.
Ramos felt it was harsh to dismiss him for the clash with Messi, saying: "The sending-off was a key moment because they scored in the last minute".
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring Barcelona's third goal.
"Leo, my brother, I am sending you a message to congratulate you on your 500 goals".