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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Back Up the Bus for the Messianic Mite


Car in India with Lionel Messi's number and Barcelona FC colours: photo by Umeshsrinavasan, 29 August 2011

deceiving elf -- Keats

from Rob Smyth's Guardian minute-by-minute report on Barcelona/Bayer Leverkusen, Wednesday 7 March 2011

GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Messi 25) I was typing 'GOAL!' when he was 45 yards out. It's a sublime finish from Lionel Messi. With Leverkusen having a suicidally high line, almost on the halfway line in fact, Messi curved his run to get beyond the defence onto a straightforward through pass from deep by Xavi. He ran into the area, a little left of centre, and lifted a wonderful scoop over the outstretched left arm of Leno. For most players such a scoop shot would have been a risky finish, but Messi always works within the limitations of his talent. There are no limitations.

Lionel Messi, Bernd Leno

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, scores his first past Bayer Leverkusen's Bernd Leno during the Champions League last-16 tie
: photo by Manu Fernandez/AP via the Guardian 7 March 2007

GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Messi 42) For most players this would have been a sublime goal; for Messi it is utterly routine. We've seen him score this type of goal so many times before. He was found by a perceptive angled pass by Iniesta, just outside the area to the right of centre. He ran into the box and then across the area in a straight line, the ball never more than a few millimetres from his left foot. After dummying to shoot a couple of times, he placed the ball into the far corner. He made a difficult chance look offensively easy.

File:039 men at work UEFA 2009, Rome.jpg

Lionel Messi shoots from outside the penalty area against Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final: photo by funnydae, 27 May 2009

GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Messi 50) I'm sorry, but this is just ridiculous. It's not remotely fair. Barcelona should be handicapped, made to play with nine men, when Lionel Messi is in their side. Messi has scored his eighth hat-trick of the season – his eighth hat-trick of the season – and this might be the best goal of the three. Again he ran beyond the defence onto a through pass, this time from Busquets. His first touch on the edge of the area was exquisite, but the covering Schwaab seemed to have forced him a little wide. Then Messi produced a glorious chip with his weaker right foot that arced over the head of Leno and plopped gently into the far corner. The extent and the efficiency of his genius is totally beyond our comprehension.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi celebrates one of his four goals for Barcelona against Arsenal in the Champions League:
photo by Darren Staples/Reuters via the Guardian 7 April 2010

GOAL! Barcelona 5-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Messi 58) Messi has four. After some more rat-a-tat passing on the edge of the area, Pedro tries to slip the ball through to Messi. He's blocked off by two defenders and Leno comes to claim, but he's at full stretch and the ball slithers from his grasp. Messi, who kept running, passes the ball in from a very tight angle on the left of the six-yard box.

59 min I am less speech.

Lionel Messi

'Just the five goals for me last night then, tha's all': photo by Gustau Nacarino/Reuters via the Guardian 7 March 2012

GOAL! Barcelona 7-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Messi 85) Lionel Messi becomes the first man to score five goals in a Champions League match. It was another terrifyingly simple goal, passed into the corner at pace from the D. There's nothing left to say.

87 min Lionel Messi is 24 years old.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League tie: photo by Manu Fernandez/AP via the Guardian 7 March 2012


vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

I saw him and mind you, Mr. Messi must be the only footballer who can mess up both the sportscaster’s and the opposing team’s minds! Awesomely beautiful.

aditya said...


Wonder picture considering how little people in India care for football (like so many other things) but that must be 'Assam' tho I am not sure (it is such a big country after all) and what a terrific performance by L. Messi-- i watched it at a friend's place on-line. Too much speed (Messi & this internet)

Wonder goals. Wonder commentary. Thanks for this.

TC said...

The audacious elf himself, having fun at work

Terry Simons said...


I listened while doing other things, and it was both distracting and remarkable.


John B-R said...

Not a bad effort by LM. To put it mildly. Nice post, Tom.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine in Germany yesterday texted me yesterday the enigmatic words "Rough day at the office for Messi." I thought maybe he'd gotten hurt. I was speechless when I got home to see the goals. I wish he had a consistently quality side on his national squad.

TC said...

Thank you Vassilis, Aditya, Terry, John and Brad for sharing in the appreciation of the gifts of this little magician.

That Lio Messi is human has been proven. We have seen him on less happy days, e.g.: The Lamentation of Lio Messi.

However, for the past five years he has more often than not been spreading his particular form of joy in a way few humans are given to do.

And perhaps it is for this reason that angels fall from the sky upon Lio Messi.

TC said...

And by the by, talking of spreading the joy, the deeds of Messi, and of the best of his many compatriots playing internationally, are covered with art and expertise on a regular basis at the unique blog Hasta El Gol Siempre. It's edited by a transplanted Englishman, Sam Kelly, and has correspondents keeping up with the news on the doings of Argentine players in most of the major domestic leagues round the world. (I've been HEGS undercover Man in Mexico, doing weekly reports for almost four years now.) Here's this week's feature, which includes good video on Wednesday night's grand performance by the Messianic Mite:

Hasta El Gol Siempre: Argentines Abroad: A Five-Star Performance by Lio Messi (8 March 2012)