Has lost again with FC Barcelona to Real: Lionel Messi
Manu Fernandez / AP
Lionel Messi shivered like a child who came out of the sea.
And in a sense it was like that: a whole ocean seemed to fall over Madrid on Saturday evening.
When the six-time world footballer came to the sidelines in the 79th minute of the game, the supervisors would have loved to wrap him up in a thick towel like a caring mother.
At least there was a new, dry jersey.
Messi was gearing up for a final sprint that gave his team another shot.
But no more gate.
The end, his last Clásico against Real Madrid?
With his 45th appearance in the duel between the arch-rivals, the captain of FC Barcelona drew the same record as the injured Real captain Sergio Ramos.
He could change clubs in the summer, his contract is about to expire and he still hasn't finally sorted out his future plans.
If that was it, then he leaves the biggest feud in world football after a kick on a training field: Real Madrid has been playing its home games there since the beginning of the pandemic.
Then on the other hand he would go to an epic battle.
1: 2 lost to an early countered Barça, there were two aluminum goals on both sides, one of them by Messi with a corner drawn directly on goal.
If it really was, you will remember your last Clásico mainly because of this infernal heavy rain.
As if heaven wept for its goodbye in torrents.
Lionel Messi in his 45th Clásico - was it his last?
Photo: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Messi scored 26 goals in Clásicos, far more than anyone, of course.
In 2007 he registered in a Clásico with a hat trick as the new player in world football.
In the 2011 Champions League Clásico, he scored one of his most iconic goals away from home, a solo against four of the chain dogs specially trained by Real coach José Mourinho.
Also in Madrid in 2017, he scored in the final minute to win and then held his jersey in front of 80,000 fans.
So that they never forget him.
Messi no longer scores in Clásico
Now there was no audience, and Messi's performance, in order to stay in the picture, behaved like the training campus to the Bernabéu Stadium.
With the exception of his brilliant corner, he couldn't give the game much impetus.
He got stuck, his shots blocked.
Against the best Messi, even the strongest defenders in the world were powerless in the group, against the 33-year-old Messi, who is still the best footballer in many ways, but no longer the very best Messi, the good teams regularly manage that.
Barça's 2-1 goal was scored by 21-year-old defender Óscar Mingueza, and 18-year-old Ilaix Moriba hit the bar in the final minute.
As always, there is a future for Barça.
Messi should be part of her.
But he has not scored in a Clásico for seven duels.
With its hegemony, that of FC Barcelona also comes to an end.
They have now lost to Real three times in a row.
Before that, there were seven matches without defeat.
In the title fight, the Madrilenians are now one point ahead of the Catalans after both have overtaken a hurrying Atlético Madrid.
Atlético can take over the top again with a draw in the evening at table sixth Betis Sevilla.
Real won thanks to better starting tactics, a successful system change from coach Zinédine Zidane to four midfielders, and a quick switch game.
Fede Valverde, who had just moved into the team, initiated the 1-0 through a delicious heel goal by Karim Benzema with a brisk start, the 2-0 through a deflected free kick by Toni Kroos, like almost all other dangerous scenes, the nimble attacker Vinícius.
Zidane's team feels particularly at home this season with massed coverage and fast-paced attacks.
And then there was the topic of referees, not new either.
Barça coach Koeman: "Shut up and accept it"
In the duel in October, a pluck from Clement Lenglet to Ramos, including the theatrical case, led to a review by the video evidence and ultimately to the decisive penalty for Real.
This time there was a pluck from Ferland Mendy to Martin Braithwaite including a theatrical case.
But the VAR failed to intervene, and at least it was not due to the technology: because the wetness had even interrupted the radio connection in the meantime, it had to be readjusted in a long interruption.
The fact that there was still only four minutes of stoppage time was the second major annoyance of a completely served Barça coach Ronald Koeman.
Barça coach Ronald Koeman, Lionel Messi
Photo: Angel Martinez / Getty Images
If he had already complained after the first leg, the otherwise so matter-of-fact Dutchman even broke the protocol this time.
"The penalty is very clear, but once again we have to shut up and accept it," he grumbled in the TV interview after the game, only to finally ask the reporter: "Was it a penalty for you?"
When the journalist refused to position himself, the drunk Koeman broke off the conversation with a sentence that matched the weather perfectly: "If you don't want to get wet, don't get wet!" The phrase stands for a clear commitment in Spanish .
The Madrilenians - "physically at the limit" according to Zidane - are now traveling to Liverpool, where they will defend a 3-1 from the quarter-finals first leg of the Champions League on Wednesday.
Messi's Barça can also win a double, albeit one step down.
The Spanish Cup final against Athletic Bilbao will take place on Saturday.