Lionel Messi has smashed Alfredo Di Stefano’s longstanding Clasico goals record with a hat-trick in a dramatic 4-3 win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night, Goal reports. The 26-year-old Argentine netted for the 19th time against Real Madrid in the first half of Sunday’s Liga clash, thus moving him one clear of his compatriot in the all-time standings, and then struck again twice more from the penalty spot in the second half.
Los Blancos icon Di Stefano hit 18 goals in 30 Clasicos between 1953 and 1964, but Messi has now surpassed that total in just 27 games between the two great Liga rivals.
Messi also opened his Clasico account with a sensational hat-trick, in a 3-3 draw at Camp Nou on March 10, 2007.
He has never looked back, netting a fine double in a stunning 6-2 dismantling of Madrid before their own fans at the Bernabeu in May 2009, while the four-time Ballon d’Or winner also scored both goals in the Blaugrana’s 2-0 win in the away leg of the 2011 champions league semi-finals. SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>>>>
Messi equalled Di Stefano’s tally with his 17th-minute strike in Barcelona’s 2-1 Liga loss in the Spanish capital on March 2 of last year.
However, Sunday night’s hat-trick at the same venue means that he has now taken outright possession of one of the Clasico’s most prestigious records.
Messi, who set up Andres Iniesta’s opener, has also moved ahead of Hugo Sanchez and into second place on La Liga’s all-time record goalscorers’ list, on 236 goals. The Rosario native is now just 16 shy of record-holder Telmo Zarra.
Meanwhile, Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has run out of compliments for Messi after the Argentine’s hat-trick against Real.
Martino admits he had run out of superlatives for Messi, telling reporters, “I can hardly talk about Leo but there’s no need. It’s compliment after compliment.
“Today he breaks another record. I hope he gives me the match ball”