FC Barcelona 2012/13 Season in Review: Lionel Messi

David Ramos

Reviewing what appeared to be another record breaking Lionel Messi season, but was in the end shortened by injury.

Report: Lionel Messi came storming out of the gates in the 2012-13 season, scoring four goals in the first two games. And so one wouldn't think this was just a case of a lucky start Messi followed that up with nine goals, including a hat-trick, and five assists over the next seven matches. That seven game stretch was ended by a rare La Liga occurrence for Messi, against Celta Vigo - a game without a goal or an assist, something that happened only once more in the entire league campaign, in Messi's last La Liga game of the season.

After the game against Celta Messi went on a historic run, scoring at least one goal in 19 consecutive league games. That streak was stopped by a hamstring injury that kept Messi out of three La Liga games and limited him in the Champions League quarter-finals against Paris Saint-Germain and the semi-finals against Bayern Munich.

And because of the injury that basically forced Messi out of both Bayern legs a phenomenon named Messidependencia was formed. Real or not the naked truth is that Barcelona are an infinitely better team when Messi is on the pitch.

Messi returned to La Liga action against Athletic Bilbao as a substitute promptly scoring a goal, something he did again the next week against Real Betis, extending his league scoring run to 21-games. That run was finally ended the next game against Atletico Madrid, a game Messi started, but re-injured his hamstring forcing him to be substituted off. Speculations began if this marked the end of Messi's season, and even though such announcement was never officially made that was indeed the case.

Throughout the season it appeared that every week Messi broke some kind of record. On 9 December he broke two major records, Cesar Rodríguez's record for most league goals for Barcelona and Gerd Müller's record of 85 goals scored in a calendar year. In January Messi became the first player ever to win four Ballon d'Or awards. Messi also equaled the record of El Clasico goals scored, held by his countryman Alfredo Di Stefano.

For Argentina Messi only featured in four games this season, but despite a low number of appearances he still managed to find the back of then net four times and also assisted on another two.

Moment of the season: With a season like Messi just had how can one pick a single moment of the season? I mean, he scored at least two goals in 20 (!) games. Arguably Messi's best games came against Deportivo La Coruña in October, Real Zaragoza in November, Osasuna in January, and versus AC Milan and Rayo Vallecano in March. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. But in the end the moment of the season is awarded for Messi's performance against Osasuna, the only game in which Messi scored four goals this season.

Resumen de Barcelona (5-1) Osasuna - HD (via La Liga)

Stats:

Appearances 50
Games Started
44
Started on the Bench
8
Substitute In 6
Substitute Out 3
Minutes Played 4268
Goals Scored
60
Assists
18
Shots
233
Shots on Goal
114
Fouls Committed
15
Fouls Suffered
121
Yellow cards
2
Red Cards
0
BB Community Rating* 7.95

*BB Community Rating represents the average rating (out of 10) Barca Blaugranes community members gave to the player for his performances throughout the season

Record with Lionel Messi in the starting lineup: 31-6-7

2013-14 Outlook: This is difficult season to predict for Messi because of the arrival of Neymar. But not because I don't think they won't be compatible with each other, but because two things can happen: Neymar will take over some of Messi's production or Messi's output will be even greater because defenses will have somebody else to worry about. Either way it figures to be a productive season for La Pulga and there is a definite possibility that even more records will be broken.

Next Up: Alexis Sanchez

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