There’s little point in trying to deny what’s as prominent as the nose on your face; Lionel Messi is the King of El Clasico.
When the biggest club fixture in the world comes around, the Argentinian can always be relied upon to be decisive in the biggest moments.
Though ultimately in vain last season, it was Messi that popped up to score the winner in the 93rd minute.
On Saturday, his penalty took the game away from Los Blancos and gave him an almost unassailable personal record.
That’s now a quarter of a century of goals against Barcelona’s biggest rivals – the most from any player on either side in history – and 15 of those have come at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Aside from the Camp Nou, it’s the ground where he has scored the most, a galling statistic for any Madridista to have to read.
Diminutive in stature, he has always stood tall, and it’s not just goals that elevate him to the top of the El Clasico tree either; he also has the most assists ever in the fixture too (14).
It will irk Cristiano Ronaldo, but he rarely shows up in these games to the same extent as his nemesis.
Yes, he has won watches for Real against Barcelona, and we only need go back to the Spanish Super Cup in August to see him at his best, prior to his red card.
But such moments have been few and far between.
Messi has reigned supreme in El Clasico ever since his hat-trick against Los Blancos way back in March 2007.
Of the 38 he has contested in total, 18 have been wins, compared to just eight wins for Ronaldo in 29 games against Barcelona.
Just the one assist for Real’s talisman is enough to show that he doesn’t affect this particular fixture in the same way.
Of course, this isn’t just about the two players, because both squads are world-class and have been for some while now.
Arguably, Zinedine Zidane has a better set of staff to choose from overall.
But, importantly, he doesn’t have the Argentinian No.10.
The goalscorer supreme.
The difference maker.