There’s no doubt that enormous success brings a lot of hatred and other negative sentiments with it. Lionel Messi, after breaking the 40 year old record of goals in a year, is seeing that from many in the form of denying his status as the best player now and shooting down the Barcelona’s star potential status as the best player ever.
But to confine Lionel Messi to the description of just a goal scorer wouldn’t be doing him justice. Yes, he has scored 86 goals in 2012; 50 league goals last season, 73 in all competitions. Since the 2008-2009 season, when his ascent to being labeled as the best player in the world began, he’s scored 241 goals in 242 matches. And still, there’s much more to the 25 year old.
We are very pleased that Messi helped us win this game with his two goals and that he broke Muller’s record. It seems impossible that he can score so many goals, he still has three matches left this year. I hope he can keep adding to it and helping us. We will not see a player like this ever again.
Not just for his goalscoring capacity and for his ability to see a pass, but for the way he understands the game in attack and defense. We hope that he still has a lot left to give because he is still very young. We should not heap more pressure on him. His record this year is absolutely brutal. Someone will beat the record at some stage, but we should just focus on enjoying this moment.
Messi can’t be defined. Not by a position, because he’s not a striker but also not a winger. Supporting striker? He’s usually the most advanced player on his team. Complicated. Just like trying to describe everything he does for his team. There is a much more venomous side to his game in the last few seasons, lowering his head and looking for a goal first more than before.
But he can pass just like Xavi and Andres Iniesta when he retreats a bit to give a taste of his vision and distributing skills. Some matches require Messi to be much more involved in the ball movement and passing. Against certain opponents, it makes him and Barcelona much more dangerous, forcing defenses to push forward while making it easier for Barca’s wings to operate.
Don’t forget, Messi is involved in everything. Along with his 23 goals this season, he has 5 assists, meaning he’s had direct involvement in 28 of Barcelona’s 50 goals. Last season he had 26 assists to go with his 73 goals. Nearly 100 goals created or finished by just one player. It would be fitting to throw in some Cristiano Ronaldo numbers for the discussion, but it isn’t the point. Not who’s better, but just how much greater Lionel Messi is than the scoring numbers.
How are Barcelona without him? Impossible to say. A true MVP is often measured by his absence. Not having Robin van Persie at Arsenal might suggest what a good player he is. For now, Messi is staying healthy but still getting 90 minutes of almost every match. According to the grand-plans of the club’s directors, he’s probably going to stay with them for a very long time. Who knows, maybe it’ll be a few years before they need to find a way to make it without him.