Children not born in this generation will have to do with watching the genius of Lionel Messi on YouTube and other video sharing platforms. The Argentine legend has cemented himself as one of the greatest players in the history of the game and at 31, doesn’t even show signs of stopping anytime. The Barcelona striker became the only player in the whole of Europe to register double digits in both goals and assists after a masterclass in the away win at Levante.
Messi scored an hat trick and created the rest of the goals, with his assist for Luis Suarez another example of his genius. Since hitting the big time with Argentina at the U20 World Cup in 2005 held in the Netherlands, his remarkable rise has astounded people despite his undoubted quality. Messi can be likened to winners at the Borgata race and sports book casino who have been hitting impressive numbers since the launch earlier this year. The Argentine international has hit the ground running and now has 20 goals this term, more than any other player in the whole of Europe, but why has the diminutive player reached another level this term?
Here are some reasons
Messi is no longer the false 9 or marauding winger of his earlier Barcelona career. Under Pep Guardiola, he played as the false 9, scoring tons of goals which culminated in a still world record of 91 calendar goals set in 2012. Under the tutelage of Luis Enrique, he played as a right winger with the license to roam inside, cut inside and either look for a better-placed teammate or cause damage himself.
This season without Andres Iniesta, Messi finds himself playing further behind the opposition goal in a free role. He has reached another level of creativity, racking up assists in remarkable fashion and the interesting fact is that his goalscoring prowess hasn’t dipped. With his way he’s playing at the moment, Messi can still play up till he’s 40.
Champions League drought
Messi is a man on a mission: which is reclaiming the Champions League title. The Bluagrana have crashed out of the competition at the quarterfinal stage in the last three years and have not won the tournament since defeating Juventus in Berlin back in 2015. Messi knows that for him to win another Ballon D’Or, Barcelona needs to win the tournament and alongside Manchester City and Juventus have been tipped as favourites.
Messi seems to have a personal agenda to lead Barcelona to Champions League glory, as his 6 goals are only behind Robert Lewandowski, the leading goalscorer. They have been paired with Lyon in the Round of 16, which seems like sure passage to the quarters
Ballon D’Or snub
Despite scoring more goals than anyone else in Europe last year, Lionel Messi was placed 5th om the Ballon D’Or shortlist for 2018 as a disastrous World Cup campaign with Argentina ensured that he placed outside the Top 3 for the first time in over a decade. Messi is definitely not the 5th best player in the world and will want nothing more than to show that he is still top dog.
We must enjoy Lionel Messi for the time being, as he won’t play forever. Another of his kind won’t come soon.