It’s fairly safe to say that Barcelona have already wrapped up La Liga.
The Catalan giants currently lead the Spanish top-flight by eight points over Atletico Madrid, while they remain unbeaten in the league this season.
Beating Atleti on Sunday was perhaps the defining moment of their season, and it’s quite fitting that Lionel Messi was the guy to score the decisive free-kick in the 1-0 win, his third from a direct free-kick in as many matches and his 600th career goal in total, no less.
In many ways, this season has been all about Messi.
While the departure of Neymar over the summer cast a shadow over the club and gave new coach Ernesto Valverde an early headache, the brilliance of Messi has, once again, shone through.
And this season, with perhaps the waning influence of Cristinao Ronaldo at Real Madrid to keep in mind, Messi has completely owned the statistics tables in La Liga.
In 27 league games this season, Messi has opened the scoring for Barca ten times, while he’s notched 24 goals (that’s 0.89 goals a game, FYI), duly topping the goal scorers tally above Luis Suarez (20) and Iago Aspas (16).
Delving in deeper, Messi has hit four braces, a hat-trick and even a four-goal rout against Eibar back in September.
If that wasn’t enough, the 30-year-old leads the assists chart with 12, above Celta’s Pione Sisto with nine and Antoine Griezmann with seven.
Messi also tops passes before the assist, shots at goal, completed dribbles and chances created.
After yesterday’s winner against Atleti – a goal that will surely secure Messi his eighth La Liga title with Barca – Valverde declared: “There’s no one like him in the world.”
He’s not wrong.
- This is the moment Lionel Messi broke 12-year record against Chelsea
- The evolution of Lionel Messi’s attacking partners since his debut in 2004
- New Adidas advert features Lionel Messi breaking a dog’s ankles