Less than a week after some pundits and other critics have questioned Lionel Messi’s form, the little Argentinean responded in emphatic form. Messi had failed to score in the last three matches yet he registered a hat-trick as he guided Barca to an impressive 5-0 win.
The hat-trick not only silenced the critics but also propelled Messi to second place on the Catalan club’s all-time scoring list behind Cesar Rodriguez. The hat-trick took his tally to 13 goals in just 10 La Liga matches while his totals for the season stand at 19 goals in 17 appearances. What is more impressive is the fact Messi has also assisted on another 11 goals emphasizing how important he is to Barca’s drive to win more titles and the ability to fend off competitors on both the domestic and European fronts.
Barca’s supporters will be pleased to see their star player erase any doubt about his form, in particular with a couple of tough matches scheduled for early December when the Catalans host surprise package Levante on December 4th before traveling to Madrid a week later to take on Real Madrid in one of the most anticipated duels worldwide. Barca have had to deal with some key injuries this season which have deprived coach Pep Guardiola of influential players particularly on the defensive end with Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique several matches while Andres Iniesta has also missed some playing time. The return of these players will provide Guardiola with a more complete squad to choose from while erasing any fears of Barca’s susceptibility at the back ahead of the gigantic standoff against Real.
Real’s star player Cristiano Ronaldo is also having a great season and his numbers are quite impressive despite being inferior to those registered by the Argentine wizard. Ronaldo might not be hard pressed to score like last season considering Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain has returned to full fitness and has been scoring on a regular basis to help Los Blancos challenge for the league title.
While Barca were effective in the transfer market after capturing Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, it must be said that Real could be considered as the summer’s biggest winners with two influential players in Higuain and Brazilian Kaka returning to fitness following injury problems in the 2010-11 season. Both can be considered as great additions to coach Jose Mourinho’s squad since they are now able to contribute and assume a key role in the club’s challenge to Barca’s supremacy in both La Liga and Europe.
Fans worldwide will be anticipating the massive clash between the bitter rivals in Madrid on December 11th, but, in the meantime, both clubs must be careful not to underestimate their opponents in the buildup to El Clásico. For now, Messi and Ronaldo will both resume their favorite hobby of terrorizing opposing defensive lines while preparing for the crucial derby which could be decisive in determining which side has a leg up despite being scheduled rather early in the season.
People are not shocked when they hear that Messi or Ronaldo managed to score a hat-trick because both stars have shown a unique ability to find the back of the net from different angles and through various ways.