Lionel Messi is back to take cruise control of things in Spanish La Liga and FC Barcelona have started reaping good fruits from the rejuvenation of the Argentine football icon.
The 33-year-old forward started the 2020-2021 season like a footballer who does not want to play football anymore. He initially found it difficult to score nor assist like he used to do, sending signals that the controversy that happened between him and Barcelona is still lingering in his heart.
Recall that after Bayern Munich knocked FC Barcelona out of the UEFA Champions League in August 2020, Lionel Messi wrote to FC Barcelona that he wanted to leave the Spanish giants where he has been since he started playing professional football.
The record 6-time Ballon d’Or winner insisted that he wanted to leave the club for free but the club refused, saying the Argentina international could only leave the club if an interested club paid his €700 million release clause. Messi dragged the issue with Barcelona for weeks until he had no choice but to stay back at Barcelona.
Coach Ronald Koeman became the manager of Barcelona when the crisis between Messi and the club was brewing. He took part in ensuring that settlement was reached before the commencement of this season.
Earlier in the season, Barcelona was losing matches or dropping points against clubs they ordinarily suppose to beat which made them stay out of the top-four for weeks. At that period, Lionel Messi was struggling to score goals except there was a spot-kick for him to take.
But in the last 8 La Liga games, the Spanish giants have been enjoying the kind of form they are known for. They have enjoyed 8 unbeaten run which is a huge plus for Ronald Koeman who has been finding it difficult to settle down at the club.
The player who brought back that fire to the club is none other than the club’s talisman Lionel Messi. On Saturday, January 9, the Argentine football icon was in his usual element of leading the club to a resounding victory.
Messi scored two beautiful goals while his strike partner, Antoine Griezmann, scored two goals to give FC Barcelona a 4-0 victory over Granada. The win has catapulted Barcelona to the third spot on the La Liga table with 34 points in 18 games.
Koeman and his boys are currently 4 points away from first placed Atletico Madrid and three points away from second-placed Real Madrid. This means that Barcelona are back to being one of the title contenders this season.
Meanwhile, the return of Lionel Messi on the scoresheet on Saturday night has made him the highest goal scorer in La Liga so far this season with 11 goals.
His two goals against Granada helped him to overtake Villarreal’s forward Gerard Moreno who currently has 10 goals, Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas and Atlético Madrid striker Luis Suárez who have 9 goals respectively.