Rivalries in football are not only confined to clubs or national teams. Sometimes, we also have players going against each other in heated exchanges.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry, Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti; these are some of the most iconic player rivalries of the modern times, but the El Clasico is witnessing the birth of another famous rivalry. Or rather, enmity.
Messi and Sergio Ramos have been consistently involved in on-field skirmishes lately, making this match-up one of the fiercest in the recent memory. The Clasico stars are clearly at daggers drawn and just don't get along, whatsoever.
Ahead of another fiery Real Madrid versus Barcelona contest, let's revisit the four most acrimonious moments between these players.
#4 Messi tears into Ramos for shoving David Villa (2010)
Back in the day, Messi was impervious to even the most abominable horseplay. He normally refrained from getting into an altercation after being subject to a nasty challenge, so the sight of Messi ramming into Ramos during the Copa Del Rey final took many by surprise.
With the clock winding down on another intense showdown between the Spanish behemoths, then-Barcelona striker David Villa lost his temper upon being manhandled by Ramos and Alvaro Arbeloa, the latter of whom even shoved him. This prompted Messi to jump into the mix and thrust himself straight at Ramos. He can also be seen wagging his fingers at the Spaniard, gesticulating to come at him for a fight.
#3 Ramos throws the ball over Messi (2017)
The Real Madrid skipper never misses an opportunity to pull out a few larks on his opponents, does he? Well, not certainly when the opponent is Messi! So when Los Blancos were cruising 5-1 on aggregate in the Spanish Supercup in 2017, Ramos decided to wind up the Argentine further.
Barcelona won a free-kick in the dying embers and wanted to take it quickly. Messi asked for the ball from Ramos, who initially appearedto hand it over to him, but then abruptly hurls it over his head. This triggered a furious response from Messi, who then hurled expletives at the maverick defender.
#2 Messi dives into a nasty challenge on Ramos (2018)
Later that season, Messi and Ramos were ironically seen giving each other a hug ahead of the league's second meeting at the Camp Nou. Once the match started though, all the pleasantries appeared to have taken off the Clasico stow as the duo got into another tussle.
A fracas ensued when Ramos chested down Luis Suarez in another ugly challenge. Even though the referee did well to simmer the tensions down, Messi wasn't happy with his behaviour. He then took one for the team by catching the Blancos centre-back with a sliding challenge in what was a retaliatory action.
#1 Messi and Ramos clash heads (2019)
By now, Messi had made it clear: he ain't entertaining any tomfoolery from anyone. Not certainly from Ramos. He may have bats in his belfry but the Barcelona ace was exasperated enough, and he made it crystal clear when he was subject to another nasty foul by the Spaniard as Messi got completely consumed by rage.
Ramos hurled himself into another challenge for the ball, and even though they did not clash physically, he appeared to brush his arm on Messi's face. So when the former tried to peel him off the ground, he launched into a fierce diatribe that resulted in both clashing heads. And even after the referee intervened to separate them, Messi continued to bellow tempestuously at the Real Madrid skipper.Published 29 Feb 2020, 20:12 IST