Premier League Matchday 35: Tricky Away Trip For Manchester United
With three goals scored in Sevilla on a balmy Saturday afternoon in Andalusia, Lionel Messi had chalked up another hat-trick.
The 50th of his professional career. FIFTY!
That’s astonishing for a player that’s ostensibly not your main striker and gave him a total of 36 goals and 16 assists in 37 games against the team from the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
After 25 matches in this 2018/19 season, he now has 25 La Liga goals, so it’s no wonder that the locals even rose to acclaim him at full time, because Messi’s is a talent that transcends club colours.
For football fans everywhere his skill set is a joy to behold, and opposition supporters can only watch and admire this once-in-a-lifetime player.
Frankly, Pelé should be completely embarrassed for making comments a few months ago about a supposed one-dimensional aspect to the Argentinian’s play.
On Saturday, a fiercely struck left-footed volley was followed by a wonderfully arcing right-footed curler into the top corner, with a trademark chip over an on-rushing keeper to underscore an almost perfect performance.
Not to mention an assist for his partner-in-crime, Luis Suarez.
Yes, Messi-dependence is real, but so what. The captain revels in being the puppet master and the string-puller extraordinaire.
After some low-key performances following his injury, he was certainly back to his best in Nervion, and his 90 minutes wasn’t only about goals and attacking play.
What marks Messi out amongst his contemporaries is the amount of work he gets through that often goes unseen.
Example, some commentators seem keen to always point out the periods in a game when the Argentinian is walking about the pitch, waiting for the right moment to put on the afterburners.
In so doing, they’re ignoring when Messi gets involved deep in his own half where he also often starts off a Barcelona move – as he did on a few occasions on Saturday.
It may not even register with supporters, but Messi is everywhere on the pitch and that’s as important to his team as his goals. Messi-dependence isn’t just about putting the ball in the onion bag.
The issue for Ernesto Valverde is when to rest/rotate his star man of course.
As we wind down into the business end of another gruelling campaign, the big games come thick and fast and in this coming week alone, Barca have two more Clasico’s to face against Real Madrid.
For those wishing that Messi rested a bit more however, consider this… in just over three years-time, we may never be able to experience the No.10 on a football pitch again.
Enjoy him while you can.