Reaching the Champions League quarter-finals and competing to win La Liga would hardly constitute a crisis for most clubs, but this is Barcelona.
Trophies are often the minimum requirement for those in charge at Nou Camp. Fans expect to see their side win in style and have questioned the merits of boss Luis Enrique, who is to leave at the end of the season.
The travelling Catalan contingent could not complain about Sunday’s heroics, however, as they were treated to two fine finishes from Messi that were complemented by an equally composed Rakitic strike from the edge of the area.
Any crisis talks can be postponed while this side continues to boast Messi in its ranks, with the little magician showing he still has the ability to carry the Blaugrana against the world’s best teams.
A genius with the football at his feet, Messi continued to be the creative spark for Barcelona even after Casemiro – lucky not to be sent off himself – had twice scythed the forward down and an innocuous Marcelo elbow left the Argentine with a bloodied mouth.
His reward, as well as outshining Real Madrid counterpart Ronaldo in this Clasico, was to further ingrain his name into Barcelona folklore.