On this day in Latinx history: Lionel Messi scores two goals in El Clásico
Barcelona standout matches Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo
Anything that Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo could do in the 2012 rendition of El Clásico, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi showed he could match as the teams played to a spectacular draw in Barcelona’s home opener on Oct. 7 at Camp Nou.
It was an evenly matched tug-of-war from the first whistle to the last, as both men scored twice for their respective teams. Messi found himself just one goal short of Clásico’s all-time scoring leader, famed Real Madrid forward and fellow Argentine Alfredo Di Stéfano, who scored 18 goals in the rivals’ matchup, but the tie maintained Barcelona’s eight-point lead over Real Madrid in La Liga standings.
Karim Benzema, who missed a scoring opportunity in the 13th minute after going wide on Ronaldo’s cross, made it up a few minutes later by setting up Ronaldo for the match’s first point. Benzema turned quickly and delivered the ball to the left side of the pitch, where Ronaldo was waiting, and the star forward struck a dart to the low left end of the corner just past the keeper.
On the first of Messi’s goals, Pedro delivered a cross that got batted around like a pingpong game machine with Madrid unsuccessfully clearing the ball and Pepe losing the ball behind him on a failed header. The ball found itself in Messi’s delivery line, and he struck the ball from inside the 6-yard box to the left side of net just as Iker Casillas came out of goal attempting to collect the ball.
That made it 1-1 going into the half.
One minute into the second frame, Messi was already wreaking havoc on Real Madrid. He made an outstanding run into their penalty area and sent a cross to the far post that Alvaro Arbeloa intervened with to avoid another defensive lapse.
But that ignited a series of tactical fouls for both sides as the teams tried to prevent their opponent’s star player from scoring. Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets took a yellow card in the 54th minute to prevent Ronaldo from a free run into the box, and only five minutes later, Madrid’s Xabi Alonso was forced to return the favor so Messi didn’t do serious damage.
The foul on Ronaldo prevented a score, while Messi made Madrid pay for its foul. He bent the ball around the right-hand side of the wall and found the back of the net along the upper right-hand side of the goal to give Barcelona a 2-1 lead.
Madrid answered that goal. Mesut Özil baited the Barcelona defenders into collapsing on him, and Özil moved left before delivering a touch pass to Ronaldo, who got behind the defenders and easily connected on a low goal to the right.
Messi’s two goals contributed to a record 91 goals combined in all matches for Barcelona and the Argentina national team, which broke the record of Gerd Muller, who scored 85 goals in 60 appearances in 1972.
In took 69 official games to achieve the mark – 79 in 60 appearances for Barcelona and 12 in nine contests for Argentina. That averages out to 1.319 goals per game, which is only slightly less impressive than Muller’s average of 1.417.