BARCELONA VS REAL MADRID: HOW WAS THE LAST EL CLASICO WITHOUT MESSI AND RONALDO
5054 days. Yes, that’s the number of days that have passed since December 23, 2007, the last time that the famous El Clasico clash had neither Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the field. It seems like an eternity as generations of fans have grown in love with the sport due to the iconic clash and the rivalry between the duo.
And the era has provided some of the most spectacular matches such as 5-0 humbling that Barca gave to Jose Mourinho’s men, the 2013-14 Copa Del Rey final which was won by a later Gareth Bale or the 2013-14 match which was decided in the dying seconds by a Messi goal, his third of the night.
However, the game must go on and the match will still attract lots of eyeballs as passionate fans cheer on their team.
So, how was the last El Clasico without, Messi and Ronaldo?
BARCELONA VS REAL MADRID
On December 23, 2007, Real Madrid came to Camp Nou with a four-point lead over the Catalans.
Bernd Schuster had managed to turn around Real Madrid’s season after an underwhelming start to the season.
The side from the nation’s capital had won 12 of their last 16 matches and were on a hot streak while there were questions on the future of Barca coach Frank Rijkaard.
To make matters worse, Messi was injured and Rijkaard opted for a front three of Samuel Eto’o, Andres Iniesta and Ronaldinho.
The match started and before the end of the first half, the visitors had taken the lead through Julio Baptista.
After getting the ball in the opposition half Baptista played a brilliant one-two with Ruud van Nistelrooy before volleying the ball into the top-right corner past the hapless Victor Valdes.
From there on it was Barcelona who had to take the initiative but the defensive quartet of Fabio Cannavaro, Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Gabriel Heinze held firm.
The Barca fans were left frustrated as the team failed to break down their opponents.
Deco was replaced in the 57th minute by Giovani dos Santos.
To make matters worse, defender Carles Puyol suffered an injury due to which he was replaced by Gianluca Zambrotta 20 minutes later.
And the final nail for Barce fans was when despite being sent to warm up, Theirry Henry was not substituted onto the pitch.
Instead, the 17-year-old Bojan was sent on the pitch and despite some good plays, the hosts were unable to equalise.
With this win, Real Madrid went seven points ahead of Barcelona.
After that the Los Blancos held their lead through the entirety of the season and won their 31st national league.
— Júlio Baptista (@J_Baptista81) March 6, 2021
The season ended with Pep Guardiola being appointed as the new Barcelona coach which would lead to the formation of the greatest football teams that the world had ever seen.
TEAMS FROM A DIFFERENT ERA THAT DAY
Barcelona: Victor Valdes, Gabriel Milito, Rafael Marquez, Carles Puyol, Eric Abidal, Yaya Toure, Xavi, Deco, Andres Iniesta, Eto’o, Ronaldinho
Substitutes: Albert Jorquera, Lilian Thuram, Gianluca Zambrotta, Giovani dos Santos, Bojan Krkic, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Thierry Henry
Real Madrid: Iker Casillas, Fabio Cannavaro, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Gabriel Heinze, Mahamadou Diarra, Wesley Sneijder, Julio Baptista, Robinho, Raul, Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Subsitutes: Jerzy Dudek, Marcelo, Miguel Torres, Fernando Gago, Guti, Arjen Robben, Javier Saviola