OTD In 2017: Lionel Messi Brings Down The Bernabéu With 2 Goals, 1 Shirt
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As the final whistle approached, it looked as if Barcelona would have to settle for a draw. The Blaugrana had led with just five minutes remaining in normal time of El Clásico, but James Rodriguez leveled the score at 2-2 for ten-man Real Madrid. Enter Lionel Messi.
Jordi Alba laid a perfectly-placed cutback to the top of the box and, completely unmarked, Messi stepped up to score his 500th goal for Barcelona with the final kick of the game. After clinching the 3-2 victory with his second goal of the day, Messi produced one of the more iconic images in recent memory. He removed his shirt and held it out, his name facing toward the stunned Bernabéu crowd.
On this day in 2017, Leo Messi held up his shirt to the Real Madrid crowd after a stoppage-time winner in El Clasico.Iconic
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 23, 2020
As he had done so often before, Messi vanquished Real Madrid to keep the Catalans in the title race. He was the catalyst for everything that went in Barcelona's favor on the day. After Casemiro drew first blood for Madrid, Messi leveled the score with a slaloming run into the box through a crowd of defenders in white.
In the 73rd minute, after Messi was dispossessed in the box, the ball fell to Ivan Rakitić 18 yards out. He launched a rocketed shot into the corner which left Keylor Navas with no chance of saving it to put Barcelona in front for the first time. Just four minutes later, as Messi received the ball near the halfway line and attempted to accelerate away, but Sergio Ramos went flying in with a two-footed tackle and was sent off with a straight red card.
As the 86th minute approached, James ghosted toward Marc-André ter Stegen's near post and expertly converted Marcelo's cross from the left, tying the game at two. While he may have thought he had salvaged a point for Madrid, in reality he merely set the stage for Messi to produce another moment of magic.
Sergi Roberto took a pass deep in the Barcelona half before making a surging run forward. Out on the left wing he found Andre Gomes, who had Alba making an overlapping run outside him. The ball to Alba was perfectly weighted, and the rest is history.
Three years since this iconic Lionel Messi moment pic.twitter.com/7k6l6K939P— Goal (@goal) April 23, 2020