The S – Word

God lives in Catalonia

“Mega -Messi”, “Messi Masterclass”, “The Messiah”, “God lives in Catalonia!”

…are just some of the headlines that followed Barcelona’s 4-1 demolition of Arsenal last Tuesday – a crushing defeat that was orchestrated to perfection by one man, Lionel Messi. The Argentine scored all four goals at the Nou Camp, with a hat-trick in the first half. His goals, exquisite ones at that, gave the Catalan side a 6-3 aggregate win and a passage to a Champions League semi-final against Inter Milan.

Even I, here in my Pacific paradise, couldn’t miss the recent rhetoric about Messi and I was tempted to write about the FIFA World Player of the Year last month, following Barca’s 4-2 win against Real Zaragoza. Messi bagged another three in this game, becoming Barca’s first ever player to score consecutive hat tricks in La Liga, their previous outing being a 3-0 win against Valencia.

Leo has already won the Champions League trophy twice, he’s also got three La Liga titles to his name, a UEFA Super Cup, A FIFA Club World Cup and three Spanish Supercups. He is Maradona’s “successor” – words lauded by Diego himself, he won last season’s Ballon d’Or and he beat Cristiano Ronaldo to the title of World’s best player while he was at it. Oh, did I mention that he’s Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in the Champions League? Not bad. It’s hard to believe he is still only 22…  

And just in case the Zaragoza goals didn’t have you drooling into your keyboard enough, here’s Leo’s in action against Arsenal:

A class act, I think you’ll agree. As far as week’s go, I’d wager that perhaps it was one of Leo’s best. Even the staunch anti-Barcelona/pro-Real Madrid newspaper ‘Marca’ praised the diminutive number 10 for his footwork against Arsenal. Could his week get any better? It could and it did. Pep Guardiola’s men rounded off a superb week with a 2-0 win in ‘El Classico’ against Real Madrid. Messi overshadowed Ronaldo, he scored is 40th goal of the season and, with Barca’s second goal from Pedro Rodriguez, his team went three points clear at the top of La Liga. Marca, not surprisingly, weren’t too effusive with their praise this time…

There are some number 10’s who have always been special, who will always captivate the public and who will never be forgotten. The likes of Pele, Platini, Puskas, Maradona and Eusebio, to name but a few. For me, it’s really interesting to witness the ascent of Leo Messi, as he’s one of the few current players who could rank alongside the greatest number 10’s of all time. Perhaps, to some, he already does. If he takes Argentina to a World Cup final win this summer, then he’ll certainly be up there and the comparisons to Maradona will ring truer than ever. But for Barcelona fans I’m sure they couldn’t care less – as their shy, 5ft 7, Argentine number 10 is already the best in the world. God, as they are saying, already lives in Catalonia.

Mahalo for reading!

As a side note you may wonder why Manchester United’s game against Bayern Munich hasn’t had a mention. I think that the less said about that one, the better. Ahem…