Lionel Messi is on another level at the moment
For Lionel Messi, adjectives to describe his genius are rare and far between. He is one of the greatest players of all time. The 30-year-old continues to deliver moments of magic, keeping people on the edge of their seats. He is now entering a pivotal part of his career where his body will start declining, but his football intelligence is almost unrivalled.
At nearly 31, Messi is still delivering at the highest level. Against Real Betis on Sunday, he gave another reminder of his quality on a day when Real Madrid threatened to grab the headlines. Los Blancos had earlier won 7-1 against Deportivo La Coruna, but Barcelona stepped it up at the Benito Villamarin, winning 5-0 courtesy of braces from Messi and Luis Suarez, alongside an Ivan Rakitic strike.
Messi is playing ever deeper in Barcelona's attack, allowing Suarez to be the focal point. Barca are adopting a 4-4-2 formation at the moment, which is a sharp contrast to the club’s tradition 4-3-3. It has worked wonders, as they are still unbeaten in the league, the only side in the whole of Europe with that unblemished record.
Messi is a man on fire. He knows that this season represents a chance to soar above long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or race, as the Real Madrid forward is having an atrocious campaign by his standards.
Ronaldo has netted only six league goals. Although he has nine Champions League strikes, those returns are low for a player of his quality. Late last year, the Portuguese equaled Messi on five Ballon d'Or trophies. The Argentine is desperate to win the gong for the sixth time, though, and it is hard not seeing him do that based on current form. If Barcelona win the treble this campaign, which is a possibility given their stunning season so far, Messi may well be named on that bronze ball.
Blaugrana hold an 11-point advantage at the top of La Liga. They are also in the quarterfinals of the Copa Del Rey as well as considered favourites to knock out Chelsea in the Champions League last 16 next month.
Messi has been phenomenal all season, registering 25 goals and creating a further 10 in 30 matches. He will be looking to add to his tally before the end of the season. While his goal-scoring is nowhere near his imperious best of 2012, where he netted an astonishing 91 calendar goals, he is still a class above every other player in the Spanish league, scoring 19 times and giving 9 assists in only 20 games this campaign.
Messi has won every trophy in club football, but he still shows amazing desire to keep going. It is a trait young players should emulate in this world of huge financial rewards for just playing some minutes here and there.
The last two seasons have seen Real Madrid become the dominant force in the Champions League. Barcelona want to change that if their recent recruitment is anything to go by.
The Catalan giants have spent big on Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho in the last two transfer windows, which shows a huge statement of intent. Lionel Messi will continue to be the main man at the Nou Camp, though. The left-footed genius is still wowing with his undeniable quality. We shouldn’t be surprised because it’s nothing new. We have witnessed it all before.