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Messi hails Clasico win as 'important step' in title race

World Leagues

Lionel Messi on Monday hailed Barcelona's dramatic 3-2 Clasico victory over arch-rivals Real Madrid as an "important step" in the race for the La Liga title.

Messi's last-gasp goal marked his 500th for Barcelona and blew the La Liga title race wide open at Real Madrid on Sunday.

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Lionel Messi took off his jersey to celebrate the third goal for Barcelona. Photo: Reuters

Victory takes Barca top of the table thanks to their better head-to-head record with both sides locked on 75 points, but Madrid have a game in hand.

"We went to the Bernabeu to win and to continue to fight for La Liga," the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said on his Facebook page.

"There is still a long way to go, but we left with the joy of having taken an important step," added Messi, the top scorer in La Liga with 31 goals, alongside a photo of himself celebrating one of his goals.

Barcelona are bidding for a third straight La Liga and Spanish Cup double. They play Alaves in the Cup final on May 27.

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