Would’ve Barcelona won the La Liga trophy this season without Lionel Messi playing in the last few matches? Probably, but it would have taken a little longer to secure it, possibly. It would have given Real Madrid a little bit of encouragement and belief that it is possible to do the impossible. But Messi, who hasn’t been 100% for quite some time, wasn’t going to let something minor (or maybe it was a little bit worse than that) slow him down, and prevent him from winning another league championship.

At some stages during the season, more than one athlete has said, no one is completely healthy. You just have to grind it out. Messi always seems like a small, fragile player. But the number of matches he has played since becoming a first team player, without letting minor injuries get in his way, is quite impressive. Messi, who takes quite a physical beating every time he’s out on the pitch, has played in 346 matches for the team since the 2006-2007 season, averaging 49.4 a season over the last 7 campaigns. It’s impossible to stay completely healthy for that long, but it’s not impossible to play through that pain.

Lionel Messi has been playing with an injured right knee since the quarterfinals against PSG

  Lionel Messi has been playing with an injured right knee since the quarterfinals against PSG

Messi’s desire to play through the pain was quite impressive, at least for his teammates. Jordi Alba thought Messi wasn’t the happiest man in the world recently, annoyed by the fact that his injury hasn’t cleared up as fast as he and others were hoping for, but it didn’t matter. He played through it, even when he shouldn’t have, and finished the season once the title was completely secure. Messi didn’t even have to play against Atletico Madrid this weekend, as Real Madrid’s draw with Espanyol meant that Barcelona secured the title without even playing, but he needed one last goodbye on the pitch before being shut down for the remainder of the season.

He is the best player in the world. It is normal that he got annoyed about his injury, but he took risks to be with the team. When he did not play it was because he could not. I do not know about ‘Messidependencia’ but he helps a lot. On many occasions we depend on him, but we also have other players who are very good.

Messidependencia isn’t the thing most Barcelona players, or their head coach, love to hear about, but it’s something of a truth, unfortunately for them. His 60 goals in all competitions this season, including 46 in the league, are too much for the team to give up on. Maybe this summer will be the one Vilanova makes the changes that release Barcelona from their complete offensive dependence on Messi, but for now, it’s only about recognizing just how importnat he has been for them, and how lucky they are he was willing to risk the injury getting worse to win a fourth league title in five seasons.

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