The doubting Thomas’s were out on force during the summer long football hiatus. Messi had lost his pals and Barcelona had lost the league before they’d even kicked a baw. This widespread opinion of Barcelona’s evident demise came in the wake of a humiliating 5-1 defeat to their fierce rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup back in August this year. Neymar left to eat baguettes by the Arc de Triomphe and Luis Suarez was out with a long-term knee injury; MSN was no more. The rapture was coming. Or so everyone said.
Alas the commentators, the pundits, the reporters, the ‘experts’, former pro’s and ex-managers never calculated the little Argentine dynamo into their ‘the end is nigh for Barcelona’ equation. Ultimately, the football world fully underestimated the sheer power of the greatest footballer to ever grace the Earth. While the Barcelona ‘fans’ packed their scarf’s neatly away in the back of their wardrobe, giving their side no hope of a successful campaign, La Pulga (the flea) was working away, planning the greatest season of his career and organising the staging of the greatest one-man show on Earth.
We are five games into the La Liga season and Barcelona sit top of the table; my Nana did tell me that the cream always rises to the top. Barcelona have won 5 out of 5, they have scored 17 and conceded 2.
Lionel Messi has carried Barcelona with nine goals and one assist in their five games so far. In the opening game of the season Messi scored his first two goals of the campaign in a 2-0 victory over Alavés. The opening goal marked his 350th goal in La Liga, becoming the first player to ever achieve this special milestone.
The Flea already has two hat-tricks to his name this season; one against Espanyol in the Derbi Barceloní in a 3-0 victory and the other against Eibar in a 6-1 victory in which he scored 4 goals. His four goals in the mid-week game against Eibar proved to be yet another milestone for the maestro as he netted his 300th goal at the Camp Nou.
On the other side of the coin Real Madrid opened their season with a draw in their first two home fixtures against Valencia and Levante. Wins away to Deportivo and Real Sociedad restored some faith but Los Blancos bad run of form lead them to drop points at home to Real Betis. Cristiano Ronaldo has been out of the fold after his five-match ban for shoving referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during the Spanish Super cup first-leg. The Portuguese talisman is yet to get off the mark, and received his first start in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Betis.
Amidst Messi’s one man domestic domination exhibition he still found the time to make a special appearance in the Champions League. He lit that stage alight as well; scoring the opening goal, playing a huge role in the second with a darting run and scored the third as Barcelona put Juventus to the sword with a 3-0 victory in the opening group match.
He’s made everyone look a fool. And now the wee man from Rosario is going to silence the doubters and set fire to the greatest game in the world. Watch this space…