Lionel Messi shortened the distance between him and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Pichichi race by scoring four goals against Valencia, raising his tally this season to 27 league goals, one less than Ronaldo. It’s the only chart in Spain Barcelona still have a chance of topping come the end of the season, with their 5-1 win over Valenica putting them 10 points behind Real Madrid in the La Liga table.
Too much of a difference between home and away form is probably the main reason for the title looking like it’ll be lifted by a different team for the first time since 2008. Barcelona have won 11 of their 12 matches at the Nou Camp, including a 50-4 scoring record. Away from home? Four wins, five draws and two defeats, with an 18-13. Real have a very similar home record (11 wins, one loss, to Barcelona) but their away form is just short of perfect – 9 wins in 11 matches.
But still, there’s something elegantly more pleasant to watch about Barcelona thrashings, especially against a good team like Valenica. Once again, a demonstration of how far the top two are from the rest of the league was painful to watch at times. Barcelona don’t do it in the fast, aggressive way Real usually tear apart teams with, which gives a more subtle, gentle feeling to an uneven match.
Messi keeps marching upwards in the history books. He now has 146 league goals for Barcelona put him at 19th all time in the La Liga. He now has 42 goals in all competition this season, aiming to beat his 53 goal mark from last season. With 222 goals in 309 matches for the club, he is just 13 goals away from becoming the club’s all time leading goal scorer, surpassing Cesar Rodriguez.
Messi, and probably everyone else in the club, seem focused on two big goals remaining for the rest of the season. Winning the Champions League, becoming the first club to repeat since late 1980’s AC Milan. Number two seems like keeping Guardiola from bolting. There’s been plenty of talk about Guardiola’s future, who keeps signing these one year deals.
For the first time, Guardiola will probably miss out on the league title, and obviously it creates the kind of rumor-mill atmosphere. Guardiola keeps insisting he wants to stay, but is still shy regarding the signature. Messi, who has established himself as the best footballer in the world under Pep, might have been putting on a show against Valencia just to convince the 41 year old manager to stay.