In the space of a week, Lionel Messi learned that the bitter taste of defeat is not the sole right of teams that run into Barcelona. But sometimes it can turn on the Blaugrana too.
Defeat against Real Madrid in the El Clasico resigned Barcelona to second place in the La Liga. Chelsea’s win in the Champions League meant that Barca’s supporters would have to be content without any major silverware in their kitty for the first time in years.
Then came the body blow — Pep Guardiola, the architect of Barcelona’s rise, decided he wanted to live a different life. All this has left Messi feeling a little downbeat – who wouldn’t be?
But there’s no better way to get over these blues then to score goals and that’s exactly what Messi‘s been doing.
Another Messi hat-trick– his seventh of the season – helped Barcelona beat Malaga 4-1 at Camp Nou. He converted penalties in the 35th and 59th minutes and chipped goalkeeper Carlos Kameni in the 64th to overtake Gerg Muller’s record of 67 goals in one season in a European League.
Then again the fact Muller’s record stood for 39 years tell us something. To score so many goals in this day and age is no mean feat and to do it now — in the age of video analysis — is splendid.
The Argentinian’s finesse in front of goal has already seen him secure another record this season. The 24 year-old set a Champions League season record with 14 goals, which included a record five against Bayer Leverkusen in March.
In total, Messi has now scored 75 goals this season: 70 for Barca (68 competitive, 2 friendly) and 5 for Argentina. Now, that is an extraordinary number but is it good enough for him to win the player of the year award again?
He has managed to inspire Barcelona to the Spanish Supercopa, the Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup. And the club may still win the Copa Del Ray but the big titles have escaped them. No La Liga, No Champions League and will that throw a spanner in the works?
He has won the Ballon d’Or winner for the last three years running.
Here’s the list of the players with the best goal scoring seasons in European football, one that Messi now tops.