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When Lionel Messi Silenced The Bernabeu With The Ultimate El Clasico Celebration

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When Lionel Messi Silenced The Bernabeu With The Ultimate El Clasico Celebration

Even by Lionel Messi's insane standards, scoring an injury-time winner against Real Madrid then producing the best, Bernabeu-baiting celebration of his career is special.

Did we mention it was his 500th Barcelona goal as well? Usually that - and the fact that Messi's goal settled this 3-2 thriller and put Barca top of La Liga - would be the big talking points.

But when, three years ago, Messi whipped off his No 10 shirt and held it aloft to the away support (who we're fairly sure already knew his name and number), we had an image that obliterated everything else.

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Marcelo fell to the turf, Cristiano Ronaldo raged, Madrid fans held their heads in hands. For once, Messi stood still as a statue.

What came before it was terrific too. At 2-2 in stoppage time, Real were pressing for a winner. Instead their rivals won back possession, hit a pinpoint counter and - when Jordi Alba cut the ball back to Messi just inside the box - everyone probably what was coming.

Cue the corner of Keylor Navas's net rippling and Messi was tearing off his blue-and-red shirt.

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The reaction was almost certainly unplanned but what made it special is how he doubled down on it.

Rather than sneaking his shirt back on as he was mobbed by teammates, Messi waited until they cleared off - then stood there with it aloft for a second time, as the referee reached for a yellow card that Leo clearly didn't care about receiving.

Already a hundred memes were being born and FIFA developers were hurriedly preparing to design it.

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While it was a knife to the guts for Real Madrid, they at least got the last laugh in the long run. Barcelona's win put them top of La Liga but Real won their game in hand, then kept on winning to earn the 2016/17 title on the season's final day.

Ronaldo later had to have his say too, of course. The next time he visited Camp Nou and scored in the 2017 Supercopa de Espana final first leg - he mimicked his great frenemy's celebration by showing his No 7 shirt to the crowd.

Any excuse to get the abs out, eh?

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Still, the originals tend to be the best and, one night in Madrid, Messi even upstaged his rival in the celebration stakes when he gave Barcelona's away fans a moment they will never forget.

Topics: El Classico, Football News, Football, Barcelona, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid, La Liga

Alex Reid
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