The diminutive Argentine superstar scored twice in an iconic performance to extract revenge on the Bianconeri. The scoreline on the night read 3-0, the same score that Juvenuts managed over two legs against Barcelona in last season’s Champions League quarterfinal. Messi had never scored against Buffon going into the match and social media had already hyped the battle of the two footbaling greats.
Messi emerged as the clear winner after baffling Gigi Buffon with two mesmerising strikes and hitting the woodwork on one occasion. He also set up Rakitic’s goal. Messi went into the match having scored a hattrick against local rivals Espanyol in La Liga and Barcelona’s ‘La Pulga’ took his tally to 8 goals in 4 games in the season, after the brace against Juventus.
Lionel Messi may have dropped off over the past few years in terms of winning trophies due to Barcelona’s slump in the final stages, although scoring multitudes of goals compared to his Portuguese competitor, Cristiano Ronaldo, but he remains as important and magnificent as ever. It’s true. Messi now drops deep, settles the midfield issues, finds his teammates’ runs, organises the game flow along with his partners in crime, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, all the while, assisting and scoring for fun.
Leo Messi’s transition to a pseudo-playmaker in the absence of Xavi is an important factor behind Barcelona’s fight in the La Liga title race in the past few years. Messi is synonymous to beautiful football. He has been setting the standard so high for the past 13 years, making us so spoiled with his genius that one bad game makes us question his form. If this isn’t world dominance, I don’t know what is. And it’s not just about scoring bags of goals. Messi does all that and so much more. Messi caressing the ball with his feet is aesthetic to the eyes of a football lover.
What’s really surprising and mesmerising at the same time is that Messi doesn’t think about the game like everybody else. After slotting the second one home in the 69th minute, any other player would have gone all in for the hattrick. Make a statement by taking the matchball home against Buffon. But Messi isn’t any other player. He was in a zone of his own for the next 21 odd minutes, dropping down, helping the midfield and preferring to secure the team’s cleansheet ahead of personal glory. And to be honest, he has been doing this for quite a while now and it’s surprising how underrated this aspect of his game goes by.
Here’s three-time MotoGP world champion Marc Márquez, likening Messi to God:
Leo Messi has been carrying Barcelona on his shoulders for a long time now and irrespective of whether a star joins the team or leaves the team, he would remain ‘the star’ among the stars. He is by far the best thing to have happened to football. It doesn’t matter if he does not have international trophies or any other glory to his name. His sheer ability is a joy for any football lover and that alone makes him the best ever to have graced the game, if not the greatest ever.