Barcelona’s star Lionel Messi has capped his great week with two goals to lead the Catalan side to a 3-1 victory over Deportivo La Coruna. Several days ago he was named the Ballon d’Or winner after a stunning year during which he led Barca to three titles- Champions League, la Liga and Copa del Rey.
Some skeptics and other unreasonable critics were beginning to argue Messi is underperforming and not living up to his remarkable displays from last season. What many seem to overlook is the fact Messi has already found the back of the net nine times in 13 league matches besides providing his fellow Barca players with five assists. In total Messi has 13 goals while assisting on six others in 20 appearances. A week ago the club hosted Real Madrid in the El Clasico clash and ended up 1-0 winners courtesy of substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s second-half strike. Messi took part in the game after missing out on the crucial 2-0 triumph over Inter in the Champions League.
In the space of two weeks, the Catalan side emerged victorious against Los Galacticos in la Liga and the Nerazzurri in European competition. The side remains on course to compete in all the major competitions despite the fact it is still too early to judge whether Barca can go all the way and repeat as treble winners.
Messi was not used against Inter (in Europe) due to injury but has featured in the other important games against Real and Depor helping Barca to open a five point lead over their bitter rivals Real. While Barca’s players remain undefeated in the league, the capital club’s players have yet to hit top form and the side has already been dumped out of the cup competition. The fans and critics alike must understand Messi will not score in every game and will certainly have a number of sub-par performances.
It is unfair to expect from him to score in almost every game or to perform at his best over the course of a long and demanding season. What matters the most now is his side is still in the running to repeat as champs in all three competitions won last season. The club will have the opportunity to win the FIFA World Club Cup as well which will be held in Abu Dahbi before the end of this year. All eyes will be on Messi to see whether he can finish off a great year with another trophy.
The next several months will decide whether Barca can repeat and if Messi will indeed remain the world’s best player. South Africa 2010 will have a big say in determining whether he repeats as Ballon d’Or winner but his achievements with his club should not be underestimated.