A last-minute winner, a Lionel Messi masterclass, a change in order at the top of Spain’s La Liga — Sunday’s El Clasico, traditionally football’s most hallowed fixture, had it all.
And Lionel Messi has been hailed as the greatest ever footballer by his Barcelona teammate Marc-André ter Stegen after the Argentine’s match-winning performance against rivals Real Madrid Sunday.
After taking a blow to the face which left him bloodied and shaken in the first half, Messi scored Barca’s equalizer before netting the 500th goal of his club career — a last-minute winner in the 3-2 victory over Real.
“I think he’s the greatest ever, because there’s nobody similar to him,” German international goalkeeper Ter Stegen told CNN Sport’s Alex Thomas.
“He loves to play football, he loves to see other people around him playing well. I think he’s the best ever because of the talent and the amazing performances he’s showing every week.”
There’s a never ending debate as to who is the greatest ever footballer — and legends such as Argentine Diego Maradona and Brazilian Pele as well as Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo all have their advocates.
It’s been a season of fluctuating fortunes for Barcelona.
Only recently has Luis Enrique’s side gathered momentum in La Liga; thanks in part to Madrid’s erratic recent form in the league, allowing the Catalan side to take pole position.
A stunning comeback in the Champions League saw Barcelona recover to beat PSG 6-5 in a thrilling finale at the Camp Nou. But this was followed by a 3-0 aggregate loss to Juventus in the quarterfinals.
“I think of course we have had some difficult moments this season,” admits ter Stegen. “We just need to concentrate on ourselves to win our matches. Then we’ll see how it goes until the end. It will be hard as always.
“We are really focused on it and there will be nothing more to say than we have two more competitions — La Liga and Copa del Rey — where we can win the trophies. We’ll try our best to do it.” He told CNN
Messi’s performance caused social media earthquake as millions of fans around the world reacted differently to his 500 career gaol for club Barca. Footballers like Ronaldinho, Puyol and others have been showering praises for the argentine
Barcelona is now level on league points with Madrid but ahead on goal difference. Madrid has a game in hand, but faces a potential banana skin encounter against Sevilla in May.