We saw the perfect example of the Barcelona philosophy of bringing through young players from the academy at La Masia at the weekend, when Barca beat Levante 4-0 with 11 homegrown players on the pitch. Messi came through that system, and has shown his respect to it, the club and the current crop of reserves by foregoing the Copa Del Rey match against Alaves.
Messi is chasing the long standing recored, held by Gerd `torpedo` Muller of 85 goals scored for club and country in a calendar year. The little flea’s double at Levante took his tally to 82 goals, three short of Muller and four short of breaking the record. Despite only having six games to do this, and Alaves providing a great opportunity to score some goals, the Argentinean striker wants to let the reserves have the chance, as is usually the case with Barca in the early rounds of the cup.
There is one more Champions league game left before January, against Benfica in the Nou Camp, and four more Primera Liga games against Bilbao, Real Betis, Athletico Madrid and Valladolid. With his current scoring rate of 1.46 goals per game in the league and one a game in Europe, we expect him to break the record of the German striker, but if he fails, he may look back and wish he had been a bit more selfish. Messi has already overtaken another legend, Pele, whose tally was 75.