January 22, 2022

LaLiga History: Leo Messi, Zinedine Zidane, Jose Reyes, Casemiro

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A look back at some classic goals, debuts, players and moments from this week in LaLiga history…  

10th March: Messi bursts onto the LaLiga ElClasico stage (2007)

Time was almost up at the Camp Nou on 10 March 2007, and visitors Real Madrid looked to be about to complete a famous 3-2 LaLiga ElClasico victory despite finishing the game with just 10 men. A 19-year-old Lionel Messi had scored twice earlier in the game for Barcelona, but a trademark header from Sergio Ramos looked to have decided the game.

But Messi wasn’t finished, taking a pass from teammate Ronaldinho still 35 yards out, then instantly surging past two despairing tackles before ramming the ball across Blancos goalkeeper Iker Casillas to the net. It had been 12 years since the last hat-trick in a LaLiga ElClasico, and Messi had become the youngest ever to score three times in the fixture. He had also announced he was ready to step up and take over from Ronaldinho as Barça’s attacking talisman.

11th March: Zidane returns to Madrid as coach… again (2019)

There was no game at the Santiago Bernabeu on 11 March 2019, but Real Madrid fans were still following the action very closely. Los Blancos’ season had not gone well – Julen Lopetegui had been fired as coach following a 1-5 La Liga defeat to Barcelona the previous October, then Santiago Solari paid for a shock Champions League exit to Ajax, following defeats to Barca in the Copa del Rey and LaLiga.

Back onto the Bernabeu stage strode Zinedine Zidane, who had left just the previous summer having won nine trophies in two and a half years in charge during his first spell as coach. The former galactico returned Madrid to winning ways, leading them to his second LaLiga title as manager in 2019-20, and does not look finished winning trophies just yet.

13th March: Reyes’ last LaLiga goal for Sevilla (2016)

13 March at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan and home favourite Jose Antonio Reyes enters as a late substitute before wrapping up a 4-2 win by finishing off a counter-attack and celebrating with his fellow Andalusians in the stands. It was Reyes’ 30th LaLiga goal for Sevilla, during his second spell for his hometown club, and turned out to be his last.

The following summer he joined RCD Espanyol, having earlier represented Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid, for whom he played a key role as Los Blancos won the 2006-07 LaLiga title. Supporters of all these teams were hugely saddened by Reyes’ untimely death aged just 35 in June 2019.

13th March: Perfect timing for Casemiro’s first LaLiga goal (2016)

The drama came late at Las Palmas’ Estadio Gran Canaria on 13 March 2016. Sergio Ramos put visitors Real Madrid early, heading in Isco’s corner, and Zinedine Zidane’s side appeared set for the three points with time almost up.

But then the home team broke dangerously, and former Madrid Castilla forward Willian Jose equalised for Las Palmas with just three minutes left. The Canary Islanders’ joy was short-lived, however, as Casemiro rose unmarked at a corner in added time to head his first-ever LaLiga goal and win the game for Real Madrid. The Brazilian has been a regular scorer since recently heading his 22nd LaLiga goal in Los Blancos’ 1-0 victory at Real Valladolid.

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