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The Magic of Barcelona's MSN

Thursday 17th November 2016
Since the summer of 2014, Barcelona have been fortunate to possess three of the world's greatest attacking players: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar. The talented trio has combined to thrill football supporters all around the world with their astonishing skills and record-breaking feats.
South America is famous for producing great players over the years. Two of the biggest footballing nations on the continent, Argentina and Brazil, are renowned for developing superstars of the game, while Uruguay have also had their own football idols throughout history. Argentina's list of great names includes Alfredo Di Stefano, Diego Maradona, and Gabriel Batistuta, while Brazil produced the likes of Pele, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho, and Uruguay can lay claim to both Enzo Francescoli and Diego Forlan.

In today's game, new names have been added to those lists - Lionel Messi for the Argentines, Neymar for the Brazilians, and Luis Suarez for the Uruguayans. All three of these modern-day greats ply their trade for the same club - Barcelona. The formidable threesome combines to form an unstoppable combination up front at the Nou Camp; Messi, Suarez, and Neymar are all suited to Barcelona's unique style of play, which has played a key role in maintaining the club's dominance of Spanish football in recent years.

Without any doubt, Lionel Messi is the catalyst in the Barcelona team, and he has been for the past decade. Messi is a product of La Masia, a training camp famous for nurturing Barcelona's youngsters. In 2004-05, Messi broke into the Barcelona first-team and he hasn't looked back since. Thirteen seasons later, the Argentine wizard has surpassed countless records, individually and collectively, on his way to making history with his boyhood club.
Messi holds the record for the most goals scored for a club in a season  - 73 in 2011-12, the most goals in a calendar year in club competitions - 79 in 2012, the highest number of goals and assists in La Liga history, along with the record number of Ballon d'Or wins for the world's best player. He is also Argentina's all-time leading goal scorer. Aside from his individual achievements, Messi has played the crucial role in Barcelona's success; during his time at the club he's lifted the La Liga title eight times, and the Champions League on four occasions.  

Messi is a privilege to watch: his exquisite ball control, pinpoint passing, dazzling dribbling, and exceptional finishing combine to create arguably the greatest player the world has ever seen. With over 500 goals for club and country, Messi is predominantly a goal scorer, but he's also unselfish on the ball, and he's as much a creator as he is a finisher, which is remarkable considering his goal ratio. Messi also possesses a mind formed specifically for playing football, which enables him to easily link up with his teammates. Barcelona's front three is phenomenal, but Messi remains the most important component.
Barcelona signed Luis Suarez in 2014, with the aim of easing the burden on Messi in front of goal. Suarez first came to prominence while playing in Holland for Ajax, before leaving to join Liverpool. In the Premier League, Suarez established himself as the best player in England, and his superb performances for Liverpool took the club close to winning the title. The striker's final season in English football saw him score 31 times in 33 Premier League games. Suarez was highly regarded while in the Premier League, but since his move to Barcelona, he's reached an even greater level.

Suarez scored 40 goals last season to earn the pichichi - the trophy for La Liga's top scorer. While in Spain, Suarez has elevated himself to the top of the list of strikers in world football; the Uruguayan has proven himself as being a player for the big occasions, reliable in front of goal and a high calibre finisher. Suarez's immense ability, competitive nature, and hard-working attitude has been essential over the last two seasons to steering Barcelona to the Champions League trophy and two league titles. The £65 million Barcelona paid to acquire Suarez was money well spent.

The final piece of Barcelona's attacking jigsaw is Neymar; the Brazilian joined the Catalans in June 2013 from Santos, and although his transfer has caused some controversy, Neymar has gone on to prove his value on the pitch. He is close to scoring 100 goals for Barcelona, in just over three seasons, which contributed to the club winning back-to-back league titles and the Champions league. As well as being a key figure at the Nou Camp, Neymar is also the golden boy and leading light of Brazilian football, with 50 international goals at just 24-years-old.   
Neymar's style is typically Brazilian: skilful on the ball, with tricks galore, and a carefree attitude. However, there's more to his game than just that: During his time at Barcelona, he's added more substance to his play, which sees him contribute regularly with goals and assists. Neymar's ability to effortlessly glide past players on the pitch, at times, looks other-worldly, which puts him as one of the best dribblers in the game. Last time around, he finished third in the Ballon d'Or; Neymar's creativity and goal scoring exploits could potentially see him win the award in the near future.

Barcelona's majestic front three, together, becomes an even greater force. There's a telepathic understanding between each of them, a determination to drive one another to the next level, which is why the trio continues to improve. When Messi, Suarez, and Neymar take to the pitch, their opponents are presented with danger from every direction: Neymar uses his quick feet and elegant touches on the left, Suarez poses a serious threat centrally with his expert finishing, while Messi roams from the right, causing havoc and having an effect on the game wherever he goes.   

At 24, Neymar is the future of Barcelona, and one day, he will become the club's talisman. However, Messi and Suarez - both 29-years-old, still have several more years left at the top. So the greatest attacking line-up in the history of the game will delight us for a few more seasons to come. The extraordinary combination of MSN have been hugely influential in guiding Barcelona to silverware - eight major trophies in the last two seasons, and with these three exceptional players in the side, more glory is likely to come in Barcelona's direction in the near future.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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