Lionel Messi has won four Ballon D’Or in a row and not only because he is one of the best goal scorers of all time. The Argentine has also proven with Barcelona that he is the player to look for when the going gets tough.
It has been many a-night when Messi has saved FC Barcelona from a sure-fire elimination. His four goals against Arsenal two years ago, or his performance against Real Madrid in last season’s Spanish Supercup, are just some of the examples of Argentina’s captain’s willingness to always go above and beyond.
Well, tomorrow is the day when he needs to definitely shine. Barça lost to AC Milan 2-0 at San Siro three weeks ago, but even more concerning was the fact that they only took two shots on goal, with Messi not testing Abbiatti even once.
Now, after being eliminated from the Cup by Real Madrid—with a 3-1 defeat at Camp Nou, included—the Cules need a victory more than ever.
Lionel Messi has not always been up to the challenge
The problem this season is that, when required, Lionel Messi has not always been up to the challenge. It’s true that, after some time, this will be remembered as Lio Messi’s best season of his career. He closed out 2012 breaking Gerd Muller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year, and already in 2013 he has scored in 17 consecutive league games with Barcelona. This season he has already scored over 50 goals, 39 of them in the League, which is an incredible feat with over two months to go in the season. But aside from the first round match in La Liga against Real Madrid, when the team tied 2-2 and the Argentine scored both goals, he hasn’t been too brilliant in Barça’s key matches.
Against Real Madrid in both confrontations of the Cup, Messi was missing in action, and his level during the return league match, when Real Madrid beat Barça with seven backups in the lineup, was also less than desirable.
In the first match of this crucial round against AC Milan, Messi was also very disconnected from the team. Then, of course, it was more due to the great defensive set up that Allegri put forth, but still, what everyone expects from a player of Messi’s caliber, is to actually step up when all other hope has been lost.
Tomorrow’s game, for example, would be a great time for Messi to re-find himself with the best soccer he can output. Barcelona would need three goals to turn things around, but in trying to go on an all out attack, and given the fragility of its defense this season, there is a good chance that AC Milan may score one goal, which would make Barça need to score four in order to go through.
It is definitely a tough undertaking, but why do you want to have Messi on your team if not for nights like this?
FC Barcelona demolished AC Milan 4-0 in the second leg of their round of 16 Champions League matchup.