BREAKING NEWS US advisers endorse single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from J&J Full Story
WEATHER AUTHORITY : Flash Flood Watch View Alerts

Real Madrid edge Barcelona to spoil what could be Lionel Messi's final home El Clasico

El Clasico is one of the biggest and most intense games in the world of soccer. It's involved some of the greatest ever players and featured plenty of incredible moments.

Posted: Oct 24, 2020 4:31 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2020 4:31 PM

Real Madrid spoiled what could be Lionel Messi's final El Clasico at the Camp Nou, beating its bitter rival Barcelona 3-1.

The away side took the lead inside the opening five minutes, a penetrating run from Karim Benzema splitting the Barcelona defense before he could slip the ball through to the driving Fede Valverde to smash home.

It didn't take long for Barcelona to level however, with Messi perhaps unsurprisingly at the heart of it. His incisive through-ball to Jordi Alba split the Madrid defense allowing the left-back to lay the ball on a plate for 17-year-old Ansu Fati.

The away side retook the lead midway through the second half from the penalty spot as captain Sergio Ramos nonchalantly converted before a late Luka Modric goal wrapped up the three points.

The defeat is Barcelona's second in a row, while Real Madrid got back to winning ways.

"We played a perfect game. It's three points, nothing more," Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said afterwards.

"We've faced a lot of criticism over the past few days. We have to remain calm and play the way we want to play. I'm happy for the players. It was a team victory today. I'm proud of my side."

READ: Lionel Messi breaks Champions League record as teenagers give Barcelona hope for the future

To and fro

During the opening stages of an extraordinary season, Barcelona and Real Madrid have shown signs of fallibility.

Both of the Spanish giants lost their last outings in the Spanish league, while Real Madrid was stunned at home on Wednesday by an under-manned Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

But travelling to an empty Camp Nou, the reigning Spanish La Liga champions showed no hint of nerves in the early stages of El Clasico, the fiery and fierce rivalry between the two.

French striker Benzema, driving through the wide-open Barcelona defense in the opening minutes, was able to pick out a completely unmarked Valverde who had darted between players into the box to get the scoring started.

But as they showed on Wednesday against Shakhtar Donetsk, Real struggled to keep the opposition at bay and like he has been so often before, it was Messi at the heart of Barcelona's excellent attacking.

His delightfully weighted pass just three minutes later from the halfway line fell almost perfectly into the stride of a galloping Alba who was able to square for Fati to emphatically finish.

In scoring, Fati became the youngest player to score in El Clasico in all competitions in the 21st century at the age of 17 years and 359 days.

While no more goals followed in the first half, both sides put on a show for the fans watching at home, with no spectators allowed into the Camp Nou because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It was more of the same after the break until a careless tug of Ramos' jersey from Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet was caught by the video assistant referee (VAR). After awarding the penalty, Ramos duly stepped up to put the Madrid side ahead once again.

Ramos became the first Real player to score a penalty in El Clasico in the league since Ruud van Nistelrooy in March 2007.

"We couldn't allow ourselves to get bogged down in that bad run," Ramos said afterwards. "It was a sh*t week but we put the criticism to one side. It's always good to win away at a direct rival. Two games is a crisis at Real Madrid but we have to carry on doing things our way."

And although they huffed and puffed, Barcelona could not find a way back into the game and Modric's jabbed finish finally sealed the game in the dying moments.

"I think we played well," Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman said after the game. "I think we created good opportunities to score. Some parts of the game we were the better team and it's difficult to understand because we did not deserve to lose the game today."

An unhappy end

Having spent the whole of his professional career at Barcelona, it is hard to imagine Messi would have envisioned the end of his time at the Catalan club being this messy.

The 33-year-old announced that he wanted to leave the club in August and has admitted he had wanted to leave "all year."

He claimed a clause in his contract meant he could do so for free, but in the end the Argentine was forced to stay as Barcelona disagreed and wasn't willing to reduce its €700 million ($897 million) release clause.

Messi said his love for the club meant he had no intention of disputing the club's decision in court and dragging out a legal dispute.

And with the chances of him staying on after this season looking increasingly unlikely, there is a chance that today's El Clasico could be the final one at Camp Nou for the diminutive Argentine.

Without the opportunity to appear at home in front of Barcelona fans, it will be a disappointing final appearance in El Clasico for Messi after the success he has brought the club in his 20 years there.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

The Argentine has helped Barcelona win 10 league titles and four Champions League trophies, as well as winning six Ballon d'Or's himself.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 61°
Columbus
Mostly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 65°
Oxford
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather