Lionel Messi has now reached 60, 60 goals in one season. Not just in league matches of course. The Barcelona Superstar has 38 goals in the La Liga, leading Cristiano Ronaldo in the Pichichi race by 1. He has scored 14 goals in the Champions League, and 8 more in the various cup competitions, home and away.
The last time anyone scored 60 goals in a season was 39 years ago, when Gerd Muller scored 67 goals during the 1972-1973 season for Bayern Munich, winning the first of the club’s three consecutive European Cup triumphs. He had at least 30 goals in a season for Bayern since their first season in the Bundesliga (1965) twelve times. Messi? This will be his fourth consecutive season with at least 30 goals in all competitions.
The question is does it really matter if Messi, and on that note, Cristiano Ronaldo, score 70 goals in a season or more? It’s great for statistics, historic scoring charts and milestone watchers. But does the field in the La Liga actually present that much of a challenge, and these two, with Messi having the upper hand in terms of individual and team titles, are super-natural talents?
Usually, those who favor others leagues, throw the “too easy” statement when shown the scoring record of Messi. Too good a team. A perfect midfield. He doesn’t score for Argentina. Ronaldo faces other accusations. Mostly not showing up for the big games, not enough of a team player when it really matters. Not showing up when he seed Barcelona comes up quite often.
But saying the La Liga is weak doesn’t hold much merit when three Spanish clubs reach the Semi Finals stage. Bilbao isn’t even in the top half of the table in Spain at the moment. Real Madrid and Barcelona, semi finalists in the Champions League, don’t really count. They seem too good for the rest of the continent as well.
Back to Messi, who has looked absolutely perfect, flawless and completely lethal every moment he’s on the pitch for most of the Guardiola reign of terror (on Spain and Europe). Not just the numbers. Messi doesn’t seem to have off days. He might not score, even for a few consecutive matches. But he’ll bounce right back with 12 goals in 7 matches or something along those lines.
This season? Taking more on himself. He might not be positioned as a striker, but he’s going through the reverse procedure Cristiano Ronaldo went through earlier this season. Messi is hardly trying to pass anymore when he’s 20 meters from goal. If he’s deeper and further out, expect him trying to pass. But with goal in sight? He believes he’ll take on 2,3,4,5 or more on his way. Doesn’t matter if he’s facing Leverkusen, Getafe or Real Madrid.
Maybe it’s Guardiola pushing him on for more records, for utilizing his incredible skill set for scoring. He might not be a striker. Call it a false 9 or whatever the hell you like. Messi’s mindset has changed, or so it seems. Not smiling so much. Just winning, just scoring. A man on a mission, who can’t stop, can’t be stopped, from getting better, and setting another record while shattering others. Good for him, good for Barcelona. How great is it for others? It just depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting on.