And Messi was forced off with what was later confirmed as a fracture of the radial bone, with the Argentine predicted to miss three weeks of action as a result.
After Sunday's clasico, Messi also stands to miss a Copa del Rey match against Cultural Leonesa, the return leg against Inter and league contests with Rayo Vallecano and Real Betis leading up to the next global break.
"We must prepare ourselves and have resources to cope without him, even if there are tough game".
With Barca 3-1 up heading into the final ten minutes, Ter Stegen pulled another sublime double save out of the bag to keep Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder at bay... "It makes a big difference to have or not to have him but we have enough cover so as not to worry about whether he is there or not".
Real sit in fifth place with 14points.
Julen Lopetegui is under intense pressure at the Bernabeu after Madrid's third defeat on the bounce to Levante. We had goals ruled out, hit the woodwork three times.
The Portuguese was still leading the way at Manchester United at that time, while Messi was laid low by a torn thigh muscle once more in the week leading up to the blockbuster match.