For long periods of the first half, Barca were serving up pedestrian and not overly entertaining fare against Celta.
Credit for that must go to Oscar Garcia in part, for he’d set the Galicians up perfectly, ensuring the hosts weren’t able to execute their expected game plan.
A stroke of luck it may have been, but the penalty decision from which Leo Messi took full advantage, changed the dynamic and the mood in the stands.
It was the first of a dead ball treble from the Argentinian and the most simple of the three.
Before Barca’s captain would intervene again in first-half injury time, Celta came up with a free-kick pearler of their own, which had Marc-Andre ter Stegen beaten all ends up.
Not to be outdone, however, Leo did what he always seems to manage, and elevate things to an entire other level.
His two, almost identical, free-kicks saw him complete a hat-trick which takes him level with Cristiano Ronaldo as the all-time record holder of the same in La Liga.
But we’ve seen a Messi double via direct free-kicks before. Remember Espanyol away.
Extraordinary for most players, but Messi is making it seem routine. Continuously. In fact, he has scored more free-kicks over the last eight seasons than teams such as Juventus, Real Madrid and others.
Think about that. He has literally outscored the best XIs in Europe’s top five leagues in that time frame from dead ball situations.
It’s beyond debate now about who is the best in the world. Ronaldo’s PR machine and friends in the media can hype their man up all they like, but we all have eyes and they are not deceiving us.
Messi doesn’t need a World Cup either to prove his credentials. Anyone who continues to argue otherwise is just making noise.
So the club are still ‘Messidependant.’ So what. Is that something that Barca should still be beaten with a stick for? Absolutely not.
— In the last 8 seasons, Lionel Messi alone has more free-kick goals (28) than Juventus (27), Real Madrid (23), and PSG (20). Accuracy. pic.twitter.com/HhZorbt2UD— Barca Universal (@BarcaUniversal) November 10, 2019
Every big team has their big game player; Bayern look to Lewandowski, Juve look to Cristiano, PSG look to Mbappe etc.
Football is about winning matches, and it just so happens that Barca have a player that has helped them do that for his whole career.
What we also saw again during the Celta game was a captain prepared to put the team before himself. Who worked hard and led by example throughout.
The fact that the game comes so easily to him shouldn’t detract from those facts either.
In all facets, Messi has no equal. Period.