Lionel Messi’s brushes with perfection and football immortality seem to just come closer and closer together. After the 5-goal festival against Leverkusen we needed a bit of a rest, but his hat-trick for Barcelona against Granada turned him into the club’s all time leading goal scorer at the age of 24. And so, the festival and cult of personality around him continues.
The numbers are just staggering. Never mind the fact that Barcelona won’t, probably, catch Real Madrid in their chase for a fourth consecutive league title, something that happened 20 years ago during the Cruyff days. The hunt for his fourth champions league title, for the team’s third in four years and possible second in a row, something that hasn’t been done in a long time, is very much alive, while Messi’s brilliance shines above, for better and for worse.
So how much does it take to become Barcelona’s all time leading scorer these days? Messi made it at 233, and stopped at 234. Cesar had 235, but by some sort of miracle, or divine intervention, always interfering in the favor of Leo, three goals were erased. Suddenly, researchers said they were wrong, and bla bla bla. Cult of personality? Seems like it, and maybe a brilliant ploy of selling unsold tickets to a match against a less than attractive opponent. About 65,000 got to see the record being broken.
Back to Messi and the numbers. He’s at 34 league goals this season, in only 27 matches. Already tied with his personal La Liga best from 2010. It seems he’s simply gotten better, or the league has turned a bit wakened, but there’s more to it than simple statistical inflation. The lad, in Spain or out in the UCL, is simply unstoppable. Cristiano Ronaldo is two goals behind in the Pichichi race, but Real have a game in hand.
In total, Messi has 54 goals this season. He’s scored 12 in the Champions League, making it 49 in the competition. He’ll blow by Raul soon enough it seems. He’ll be the competition’s top scorer for a fourth year in a row this season unless something uber-miraculous happens. Miracles, usually, happen to Messi and Barcelona, not the other teams.
And for a while, they’ll be no milestones, and the world will be quiet for a while. Messi and Barcelona do have to take on AC Milan in the Champions League, the toughest draw that was possible not including another Clasico, although Clasico’s is something Barcelona and Messi tend to thrive in. At least since Guardiola is the head coach. AC Milan? Barcelona won once and drew at home in the group stage. Eerily similar to the 2010 Semi Final again Inter, which ended badly for Barca.