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Lionel Messi is a joke... and Barca are the ones laughing

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Valladolid performance was ridiculous

FC Barcelona v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Look at that picture above. We’ll never tire of seeing that.

Six hundred and eight club goals, taking him two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo in the war that seems to have no end. 608!

We’re biased on this page of course, but the stats don’t lie.

Five more direct-free kick goals than any CLUB in the last five years. More free-kick goals than any other player in Europe since 2012. The first player to register one hundred 10 out of 10 performances since 2009. One hundred goals scored under Ernesto Valverde’s stewardship in little over two seasons.

Lionel Messi really is a joke.

Imagine if you’d never seen him play before and you were told about what he’s achieved in football. How, for a player with little height, he manages to stand head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch week in and week out, and for 15+ years. You simply wouldn’t believe it.

The ‘G.O.A.T’ phrase has become a little too overused for my liking, and depending on your preference of sport, it has been liberally applied to the likes of Federer, Ali and Woods et al.

Messi has to be part of that conversation. It’s no longer right for people to just dismiss his excellence.

In the aftermath of last night’s game, for example, there were multiple messages on social media suggesting he looked good because he was ‘only playing against Valladolid.’

He has set the bar time and time again, and even now people still line up to criticise him.How can they after his display against La Pucela?!

One of his best in a Barca shirt? Undoubtedly.

The goals were magnificent, the assists expertly crafted, however, his entire performance lifted those around him. It was truly a captain’s effort.

To witness his continuing evolution from a goalscorer supreme into a goal creator of renown also shows us yet another example of his ability to adapt his game to fit the team and style required.

What’s more, he does it with effortless ease.

We know too, because we can see it with our own eyes, that these next couple of years are sure to be as successful for him as any other.

He might not score as many - although he’s started off rather well again in 2019/20 - but his football brain will ensure he’s a second or two ahead of his opponents when it comes to chance creation.

There has never been any ceiling to what he could achieve in the game, and that’s as true today as it was when he first stepped out on the pitch for the Catalans.

He stands alone. Period.