Lionel Messi comes into Saturday’s Clasico without a goal in any of his last six games against Real Madrid, having not scored against Los Blancos since 2018.
It will be his first visit to Valdebebas and he’ll want to mark the occasion by adding a new venue to the long list of stadiums at which he has scored at, but what’s more important is ending the mini drought he has suffered against Barcelona‘s most bitter rivals.
Before this run, Messi had only once gone six Clasicos without scoring – failing to do so between April 2014 and December 2016. So, going goalless on Saturday would mean his longest dry spell against Real Madrid since breaking into the Barcelona first team.
His last goal in a Clasico was almost three years ago, in Matchday 36 of the 2017/18 season. Then, the game ended 2-2 at the Camp Nou, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez, all joining him on the scoresheet.
Thibaut Courtois‘ arrival at Real Madrid is one of the main reasons for Messi‘s struggles. The Belgian has locked the Argentine out when they’ve met so far, and the No.10 hasn’t been able to find a way past him.
Courtois has faced five shots on target from Messi, stopping each of them.
This time, in Matchday 30, Courtois comes into the game with the fourth-best save percentage of all LaLiga Santander’s goalkeepers (74.2 per cent). Marc-Andre ter Stegen (76.6 percent), Bono and Jan Oblak are the only goalkeepers with a better percentage.