Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was forced to opt for a change of kit in the second half of Saturday’s Clasico clash against Real Madrid at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium which was played out in heavy rain in the Spanish capital.
The Argentine was spotted shivering on the touchline as he took off his drenched jersey and opted for a dry one as play continued on the pitch with Barcelona 2-1 down to their fierce rivals.
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) April 10, 2021
It was a curious moment in a frantic match that ended with Los Blancos taking all three points and moving to the top of the table with eight games of the 2020-21 campaign left to play.
The footage from tonight of Messi standing there literally shivering with the cold is quite something. He can’t stop his arm trembling. Just before he goes abs changes shirts.
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) April 10, 2021
Yet a dramatic finish almost saw Barca snatch a late equalizer after the hosts were reduced to 10 men when Casemiro was sent off. Youngster Ilaix Moriba thought he’d equalized in the dying seconds but saw his effort rebound off the crossbar and to safety.
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Messi Almost Scores Rare Olimpico Goal
It was an eventful match for Messi who almost scored a rare Olimpico goal for Barcelona in the first half. The captain came within a whisker of netting direct from a corner but saw his effort just clip the far post.
Lionel Messi tried to score from a corner … and hit the post 😫 pic.twitter.com/WA5i6usZcb
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 10, 2021
Goals from Karim Benzema and a deflected Toni Kroos free-kick had put Real Madrid 2-0 up before young defender Oscar Mingueza pulled one back after the break for Barcelona.
The Catalan giants saw plenty of the ball in the second half but could not manage an equalizer and saw their 19-match unbeaten run in La Liga come to an end. Messi’s failure to find the back of the net means his dry run in El Clasico continues.
Messi has now failed to score in seven straight El Clásicos, the longest drought of his career. pic.twitter.com/1MbHkHcuQ0
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 10, 2021
Messi Unhappy With Referee
Messi was also caught venting his frustrations at referee Gil Manzano during Saturday’s defeat. According to Catalunya Radio, the Argentine was overhead shouting at the match official during the first half of the crucial La Liga fixture, “Referee!!! Speak well, with respect!”
The Barca captain does have history with Manzano this season. The referee became the first person to send Messi off in a Barcelona shirt in the final of the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic in January following a tangle with Asier Villalibre.
Manzano also frustrated defender Gerard Pique for failing to give a penalty for a tug on Martin Braithwaite late in the game. Pique, who was an unused substitute, came onto the pitch after the full-time whistle to remonstrate with the match official.
— Rameez Ali (@iamra_0) April 10, 2021
Defender Sergi Roberto also thought his side should have been awarded a spot-kick for a foul on Braithwaite, as reported by Marca. He told reporters, “The non-call on Braithwaite? I think Mendy touched Braithwaite. I was upset that it wasn’t reviewed.”
Saturday’s defeat is a blow to Barca’s hopes of winning the title. The win puts Real Madrid top of the table on 66 points with Barca one point behind. Atletico Madrid sit second, also on 66 points, and could move back to the top if they avoid defeat against Real Betis on Sunday.