Lionel Messi's Barcelona exit talk did not just take his ardent fans aback but also left his fellow competitors stunned.
Earlier this week, Messi told the club and his teammates about his intention to leave Barcelona this summer despite having a contract until 2021.
According to sources close to ESPN, Messi's Clasico opponents, Real Madrid players were left "incredulous" when the big revelation was made. Such was the impact that the players found it hard to believe even on the next day.
Not a single player of the present Real Madrid team as played a Clasico match without Messi. Even their oldest member and present captain, Sergio Ramos, joined the summer after Messi's debut for the Catalan club.
Messi is the all-time top-scorer in Clasico history with 26 strikes, eight more than second-placed Alfredo di Stefano, and 18 of which came in La Liga encounters.
It is yet unknown where Messi will be heading this summer. While Barcelona are hoping to persuade the Argetine, Manchester City have emerged as a strong possibility for Messi. It was earlier reported that Messi had a word with City manager Pep Guardiola, with whom he had a few glorious La Liga seasons in Barcelona, a week before the Bayern Munich humiliation.