With Lionel Messi not expected to return to action for FC Barcelona much before the end of the year, and having struggled with some niggling injuries at the latter part of last season, the chances of the mercurial number 10 winning the FIFA Ballon D’Or for a fifth straight year are looking pretty slim.
It will take a miracle for Barcelona to come back from last night’s 4-0 beating at the hands of the new German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. Barcelona at their best and at the Nou Camp can be irresistible, but Bayern proved last night what a good team last night and an away goal would leave Barca neding to score six, so the dream is over for another season. (highlights below)
Lionel Messi is going to run out of records to break soon. The Barcelona and Argentina number 10 became the first player to win the coveted FIFA Ballon D’Or awarded to the best player in the world four times in a row. The award was changed four years ago so, officially it is three in a row, but Messi won the one before as well.
Zlatan Ibrahimovich has had it in for Barcelona, Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola since he left the club in 2010. The Swedish striker is always ready to say something disrespectful and he did it again today after Messi broke the incredible 40-year old scoring record of Gerd Muller.
“I too would get 90 goals if I were given penalties as referees give them away to Barcelona.”
Whatever the reason behind the rift between Barca and the Swede, the simple fact is that, during his one full season in La Liga, Ibrahimovich scored 21 goals in 45 appearances. That’s pretty good until you see that Messi got 47 from 53 that season, and he was just 22-years old. His rate of scoring has risen since then.
Real Betis made Barcelona work hard right to the last minute in Sevilla last night, but the Catalan giants held on to the lead to maintain the 11 point lead over Real Madrid in the Spanish Primera Liga. Both of Barca’s goals were scored by the little magician Lionel Messi, which took the Argentinean’s goal tally for 2012 to 86, one more than the amount scored by the German Gerd Muller in 1972.
Everyone connected with Glasgow Celtic will be supporting two teams on Wednesday night. The Scottish champions are hoping that Barcelona can do them a favour, as they need to better the result of the Portuguese side Benfica in order to progress to the next round. The teams are even on points, but Benfica have a better head to head record.
Benfica visit the Nou camp on Wednesday, while Celtic host the Russians Spartak Moscow. Moscow will definitely finish bottom of the group, have sacked their manager and lost their last two home games in the Russian league. Celtic beat them in Moscow as well, so will be confident of getting a result, but know that it will mean nothing if Benfica win.
FC Barcelona kept up the relentless pace that has seen them pull out a huge early lead over their main rivals Real Madrid in the Primera Liga this season. The 5-1 demolition of Athletic Bilbao on Saturday meant that they have made the best ever start, at this point in the season, in the history of the Spanish top division. Lionel Messi scored two more goals to take his league tally to an incredible 21 goals from 14 games and put the little genius just one goal behind the 30 year old record of Gerd Muller.
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.