We have known about Lionel Messi’s talents for a long time now, and yet he somehow manages to keep on doing it: once again, he has found a way to surprise us.It probably shouldn’t have been all that great a shock that Messi would pop up with another Clasico winner at the Santiago Bernabeu, a goal that took him to 500 Barcelona goals, but it was another complete performance that further cemented his position as the greatest player of all time.

Halfway to 1,000 goals and still just 29 years of age, Messi has every chance of scoring another 200 before his playing days are up, and having hit so many heights over the course of his glittering career already, it is hard to imagine there could still be new peaks for the Argentine. This win may not be enough to wrestle the title from Real Madrid’s grasp this season, but this display will be remembered for a long, long time.

Before the game, Messi’s recent record read zero goals in the last six Clasicos, and there was mounting talk of his displeasure at the Luis Enrique regime, which will end in May and has only produced two league titles, two Spanish Cup wins, one Champions League and a handful of other trophies in two-and-a-half seasons.

On the pitch, there was no sign whatsoever of any discontent, right from the very start.