While most other derbies are nothing more than football matches, El Clasico represents much more, with Barcelona and Real Madrid bearing historical differences and contrasting political ideologies.
The central Castille government has always been hostile to the progressive but minority Catalonian populace and this led to a revolt that continues to this day, with the Catalans adopting the Nou Camp as their spiritual home and identifying Barcelona as their answer to General Franco's Real Madrid.
Throughout history, several all-time greats have laid lasting legacies on El Clasico but when it comes to impact, few can match the achievements of Lionel Messi. Here, we shall be reliving five moments that helped install the Argentine's legacy as the most impactful player in El Clasico history.
#5 Scoring his first Barcelona hat-trick against Real Madrid - (March 10, 2007)
Messi was identified as a generational talent right from his days in La Masia and he showed signs of promise at the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, where he scored a brace in the final against Nigeria to give Argentina their fifth title and was named the Golden Ball winner in the process.
The diminutive forward was initially the youngest player to make his first-team debut for Barcelona and was already firmly established in the starting lineup by the time the 2006-07 season came around.
With Real Madrid and Barcelona engaged in an enthralling race for league glory, Frank Rijkaard started the Argentine prodigy in the second Clasico of the campaign and despite starring alongside stellar names like Raul, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Samuel Eto'o and Ruud Van Nistelrooy, he was unfazed by the occasion and stole the show.
Los Blancos went ahead through top scorer Van Nistelrooy early in the game but Messi responded in kind in the 11th minute, to become the youngest player to ever score in El Clasico.
Both men made it two on the night with just 30 minutes gone but when Sergio Ramos put Real Madrid 3-2 up with just 17 minutes to go, it seemed all over for ten-man Barcelona in front of their fans. However, the big occasion is when legends step up and Messi was on hand to score an injury-time equaliser, skipping past three challenges before slotting past Iker Casillas to make it 3-3.
This was to be the first of numerous career hat-tricks for the Rosario native and although Barcelona ultimately lost the league title to their rivals on the last day of the season, fans inside the Nou Camp on that day knew that they were witnessing greatness and 13 years later, this still holds true.