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Lionel Messi’s 20:20 in 2020 for Barcelona

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What a record by the captain!

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

The less said about another lacklustre Barcelona performance the better.

This time, let’s concentrate on the positives, of which there’s one that has to be celebrated for we may never see it again.

Who do we have to thank for such a moment? Why Leo Messi, who else?!

Against Valladolid, despite not being at his best, the captain still provided the moment of the match with a quite wonderful assist for Arturo Vidal to smash home what turned out to be the game winner against La Pucela.

It wasn’t just ‘another’ assist mind. This was a 20th of the season, meaning that Leo has become the first player in La Liga history to score and assist at least 20 goals in the same season.

Thierry Henry has managed the feat in the Premier League but Saturday saw the first and only time it’s been done in the Spanish top flight.

What’s more, if he were to manage two more assists in the final few games of the 2019/20 campaign, he would topple Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller from his perch.

The German’s 21 assists is a record for the top five European leagues this season, but that is well within Messi’s grasp as Barcelona go looking to keep right on Real Madrid’s coat tails and take the title race all the way until the end of the season.

At an age when most players are on the way down in their careers, Messi is ageing like a fine wine.

Against the backdrop of such a tumultuous season, he has continued to do what he does with aplomb.

The expectations on his shoulders seem to grow each and every year and yet he not only meets them but often exceeds them.

That must be recognised appropriately rather than being belittled because a certain Portuguese player has scored X goals etc.

Real Valladolid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Frankly, it’s an incredibly poor argument when the ‘Messi or Ronaldo’ brigade come out to play. There’s no contest. It’s not even close.

Ronaldo is a great goalscorer no doubt, but Leo is on course to beat his career numbers if he so desires.

In assist terms, Messi has over 70 more than his contemporary and has influenced games by doing much more than being in the right place at the right time to receive a pass that his team-mates have worked hard to carve out.

In any event, that’s an argument for another day.

What Leo achieved in Valladolid, just like many other records he’s set in his career, will stand for generations.

If anyone is ever able to beat them, they will be a very special player indeed.