In the illustrious history of FC Barcelona, never have the Catalan giants won three consecutive Clasico’s at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga. December 23rd – could see that run being snapped as Lionel Messi and company aim to open up a 14 point lead in La Liga over Real Madrid.
Two seasons ago, the Luis Enrique coached Barcelona secured one of their best victories against their bitterest rivals when they thrashed them 4-0. Luis Suarez scored a brace alongside Neymar and Andres Iniesta’s goals which sealed the win, and Messi who was coming back from knee injury was introduced once the contest was well and truly settled.
The year after that was even more memorable for the Barcelona, even if they did not win La Liga. Messi was at his sublime best as he scored twice, including a late stoppage time winner to complete a narrow 3-2 win, before celebrating in unique style.
As Barcelona aim for an unprecedented third consecutive derby win at the home of their arch-rivals, Messi will once again be the center of attraction. The Barcelona number 10 enjoys playing at the Spanish capital, more so at the Bernabeu – he has scored 14 out of his 24 goals against Real at their home.
The journey began all the way back in May 2, 2009, when he scored a brace in Pep Guardiola's first season in a 6-2 thrashing that will never be forgotten. Messi’s next goal at the Bernabeu was in the following season, when he beat Iker Casillas with his weaker foot to help complete a 2-0 win. In 2010/11, the arch-rivals met more often than they would probably have liked, and he scored in the league, from the penalty spot, and in the Champions League, where he left numerous Real Madrid defenders biting dust with what remains his best goal to date in the white part of Madrid. Messi also scored in 2011/12, beating Casillas again, but had to wait until the Spanish Super Cup a year later to score again from a free-kick. His next Liga goal at the Bernabeu came in 2012/13, this time he beat Diego Lopez. The season after, the Argentinean scored two penalties on his way to his second hat-trick against Real Madrid and his first at the Bernabeu. After that the Barcelona forward had to wait for another three years before he could celebrate a goal at the Bernabeu. But it was worth the wait, as he scored the winner with the last kick of the game in 2017 before taking off his jersey and celebrating with aplomb.
On December 23rd, Messi will return to the Santiago Bernabeu with the personal aim of adding to his 14 goals while, Barcelona will look to extend their winning streak on enemy territory.