Lionel Messi was on fire for Barcelona against Elche on Wednesday night.
Those early-season suggestions that Messi was on the decline are looking sillier and sillier by the week as the Ballon d’Or winner thrusts himself into contention for the European Golden Shoe.
And after last week saw Barcelona flirt with an exit from the Champions League, it was the perfect lift as Messi took the opportunity to move clear of Luiz Suarez in the hunt for the Pichichi Trophy.
Messi opens the scoring vs Elche
However, it certainly didn’t come easily with Barca proving frustrated by their relegation-threatened opponents, entering the half-time interval at Camp Nou with the game goalless.
But whatever Ronald Koeman told the players during the break clearly worked a treat because Messi had the Blaugrana playing a sensational brand of football when the match restarted.
Firstly, Messi opened the scoring with a glorious run from the halfway line, playing a one-two with Martin Braithwaite, who provided a stunning back-heel pass that the Barca skipper gobbled up.
Messi plays football in slow-mo
That alone was a pretty impressive goal, but the Catalan giants went one better next time out with Messi and Frenkie De Jong combining with a pair of remarkable solo runs.
The former Ajax general picked up the ball miles out from goal, before dancing through the Elche midfield and slipping the ball to Messi in the penalty area.
However, what made the goal so special was the composure that Messi then showed when so many players would simply have shot – and you can check out the icy-veined moment down below:
This is Messi’s world and we’re just living in it.
Messi: From a different planet
You really get the feeling that Messi entered the Matrix with such a composed attitude in the penalty area, proving that he has ice in his veins by taking what felt like an age before finding the net.
Besides, let’s face it, even the most seasoned of strikers wouldn’t even have entertained the idea of continuing to dribble past the opposition when they were bearing down on goal.
But this is Messi we’re talking about and although his statistics would always make him a sporting great regardless of the context, it’s the manner in which he’s achieved it all that makes him GOAT material.
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