• Analysis

Can Messi end his Ronaldo Clasico curse this weekend?

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Clasico
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The FC Barcelona captain has struggled to find the back of the net against Real Madrid ever since Ronaldo left Spain.

Lionel Messi hasn’t scored a goal against Real Madrid since Cristiano Ronaldo last played in a Clasico back in May 2018.

The Argentine is the all-time record Clasico scorer on 26 goals in 44 appearances across all competitions. However, it’s been almost three years since he last found the back of the net against Real Madrid.

That’s a run of six games (four in La Liga and two in Copa del Rey) since Messi last scored or provided an assist in a Clasico fixture. In fact, as pointed out by Marca, he has scored only five goals in his last 17 Clasicos.

Since the turn of the year, however, the Barcelona skipper has been in superb form. He has scored 16 goals in 13 games to help Ronald Koeman’s men close to within a point of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.

Messi has also scored 15 of his 26 Clasico goals at the Santiago Bernabeu, although Saturday will be his first visit to Real Madrid’s temporary home ground, the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

Benzema also struggling in the Clasico

It’s not just Messi struggling to supply the goals, though.

Real Madrid’s top scorer Karim Benzema has been in brilliant form since Ronaldo left Spain. The striker has even scored 12 goals in 15 games since January 1, including 10 in La Liga alone. But he didn’t score in the 3-1 Champions League win over Liverpool, nor has he done particularly well against Barcelona lately.

Benzema has only supplied one assist and no goals in his last seven Clasicos in all competitions since Ronaldo’s exit.

The 246th Clasico between arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona begins on Saturday at 21:00 (CEST).