Sunday's (AEST) showdown proved a contrasting story for the two star forwards on display as Zinedine Zidane's men replaced city rival Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga.
There were also a couple of moments of history before a red card in a frantic finale.
Seven not heaven for Messi
Lionel Messi had seven attempts on goal, including when he hit the post with an audacious effort directly from a corner towards the end of the first half.
#LionelMessi hit the bar from a corner, but it's been pure frustration @FCBarcelona in the first half 😬— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_AUS) April 10, 2021
⏱ #ElClasico HALF-TIME: @realmadrid 2️⃣-0️⃣ @FCBarcelona
Watch LIVE on CONNECT @kayosports, @Foxtel & Fetch!! ▶️ https://t.co/dR3JmGUdy7#RealMadridBarca | #LaLiga pic.twitter.com/uL2IyDNV6Q
No Barcelona player had more shots, but Messi could not find a way through in what could potentially be his final tangle with Madrid in this famous fixture.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has now gone seven Clasicos in all competitions without scoring – the longest drought of his career against Los Blancos.
Simply the Benz
At the head of Madrid's attack, Karim Benzema simply cannot stop scoring, irrespective of the opponent.
His sensational backheel flick to convert Lucas Vazquez's 13th-minute cross was a finish that is sure to be cherished for years to come.
⚽️ GOAL!! @Benzema 🔥🔥🔥 A moment of MAGIC from the big man, and @realmadrid has the lead in this CRUCIAL game!@realmadrid 1️⃣-0️⃣ @FCBarcelona— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_AUS) April 10, 2021
Watch LIVE on CONNECT @kayosports, @Foxtel & Fetch!! ▶️ https://t.co/dR3JmGUdy7#ElClasico | #RealMadridBarca | #LaLiga pic.twitter.com/7D4CZedUa5
Benzema has now scored in his past seven LaLiga games, netting nine times overall during this period.
The Frenchman is the fourth Madrid player in the 21st Century to have scored in seven consecutive top-flight outings after Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Kroos ends dead ball torpor
From Ronaldo to David Beckham, Madrid has rarely been shy of free-kick specialists.
It comes as a surprise, therefore, that Toni Kroos' strike on Sunday (AEST) made him the first player for Madrid to score a direct free-kick in El Clasico this Century.
Sure, it deflected off Sergino Dest and bounced off Jordi Alba's head on the goal line, but they all count. Right, Toni?
Mignueza opens his account
Oscar Mingueza endured a torrid first half as Vinicius Junior ran him ragged, but the Barcelona defender bounced back after the break.
Mingueza appeared in the Madrid penalty area to convert when substitute Antoine Griezmann dummied Alba's cross.
The previous Barca defender to score on his first appearance in El Clasico was Marc Bartra in the 2014 Copa de Rey final.
Ref on Casemiro's case
Mingueza was also involved in another key moment, when Casemiro fouled him outside the Madrid box in the final minute of normal time.
That earned the combative Brazilian his second booking and only the second sending off of his Madrid career.
During this time, Casemiro has committed 478 fouls in all competitions. All in all, not a bad ratio.