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Brilliant All-Action Lionel Messi Leads Barcelona Past Atletico Madrid

The Argentine wizard was everywhere as Barcelona went on to a key win.

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Lionel Messi is not having his best season in terms of goalscoring, in large part due to an injury that sidelined him and interrupted his rhythm. But for the five-time Ballon D'Or winner, it's not just about scoring.

The man proved it again tonight against Atletico Madrid in a match that pitted the league leaders against the team closest to them. Yeah, he scored a vital goal yet again, but he also created chances and made defensive contributions at a higher rate than even your average forward, never mind one that is known for bagging an astronomical amount of goals.

Every time the star player was back defending, the team seemed to get a morale boost. Certainly, the crowd cheered wildly as they saw their leader unselfishly do his share of the dirty work.

What's also amazing is his goals all seem to come when the Blaugrana need it most. Down a goal against possibly the best defense in Europe, the timing of the strike couldn't have been better. Yes, it was set up by amazing work from Neymar and Jordi Alba, but it happens too often to be a coincidence or to not give Leo proper credit..

In fact, out of the top 7 forwards by reputation in La Liga, Messi is the one who tends to score or assist most often when his team is behind.

He's also second when it comes to getting a goal when his team is drawing. The only one ahead of him is Antoine Griezmann, who tends to get his goals when Atleti's powerful defense has the game at 0-0.

It's not just about goals, and even when it comes to goals, it's not just about the sheer number of goals you score. Messi proved it again today.

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