There was no way Lionel Messi wasn’t going to score on Pep Guardiola’s sending off match. Barcelona was not going to lose in Guardiola’s final match on the touchline. In a season that is individually grand and team-wise disappointing, no one was about to let the final chance of a trophy slip away.
Atheltic Bilbao sleepwalked through the match, especially in the opening. Three minutes – Pedro, who saw his stock price plummet this season just like the Facebook IPO, was on the scoreboard. 20′ – Lionel Messi scored his 73rd (!!!!) goals of the season. Pedro scored again five minutes later, and we were left with a long, long garbage time to grit out way through.
As much as it was a special moment for Guardiola and a so-called goodbye to the Golden Era that took place during his tenure – Three league titles and two Champions League trophies, the season ending was about Lionel Messi and what he did to the record books.
There was no way Lionel Messi wasn’t going to score on Pep Guardiola’s sending off match. Barcelona was not going to lose in Guardiola’s final match on the touchline. In a season that is individually grande and team-wise disappointing, no one was about to let the final chance of a trophy slip away.
The numbers? Kids now recite them in their sleep – 50 league goals, 14 Champions league goals, a record 73 in all competitions. Cristiano Ronaldo with 60? Who’s Cristiano Ronaldo again? Messi didn’t win anything major this season, but sometimes it seems like that past four seasons have been one whole body of work. Nothing compares to them. And it seemed he was at his best when the Barcelona machine has finally started to show some clinks, clanks and other problems in the perfect formula.
Is he the greatest ever? Usually, I don’t like the question, debates and answering it. But yes. He is. Because it’s not like I’ve seen the game from the moment it was created and everything that happened ever since, but there has never been anyone like Messi. Not in what he does, in terms of production, and not in the way – the style, grace and creativity he does it.
And what about the World Cup? What about his teammates in Barcelona? We are no longer in a World Cup-centric society, if you will. Club football rules, and there has been no one better in club football than Lionel Messi. Not even Cristiano Ronaldo. Not Diego Maradona, who might not have had the talent that Messi has around him, but he never reached the same achievements with Napoli. What happened before? Pele, Eusebio, Cruyff. Still not better than today.
It takes a special player to start drawing out the comparisons and ‘Best in History’ title. There are exactly two of them playing right now. THE Ronaldo might have been up with them or even above if it wasn’t for all those injuries. But he does have a world cup under his belt. No Champions League titles. In today’s game, I’m more and more inclined to think that a Champions League title is the bigger thing, despite having it every year and not four years. Even the Euro might be a bigger tournament in terms of quality and difficulty to win than the World Cup.
Again, making such a claim – ‘Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer in history’ will only convince the convinced and rattle up the non-believers. Some think he is a walking, talking, breathing masterpiece and artist with a football, other think he needs glory with Argentina to prove them wrong, and it’s all part of the Barcelona hype machine. I wasn’t a complete believer before this season.
This year, because of how he held a tired and injured Barcelona on his tiny shoulders; Because of how incredibly important he turned out to be in terms of goals and wins, I’m finally sold on what is probably true for the last 2-3 seasons. We’ve never seen something like this before, and we won’t see it for a while, who knows how long.