Barcelona currently hold first spot in La Liga despite their recent defeat against Real Madrid; the loss means they sit just two close points ahead of their rivals. Lionel Messi’s goals and assists of late have been important to maintaining what little gap is left. His performances overall have not been sensational, his disciplinary record especially poor recently, nevertheless, La Pulga is still doing what he does best in creating goals.
Lionel Messi’s Goals and Assists Help Barcelona Stay Top of La Liga
El Clásico was held on the 9th of March at the Santiago Bernabeu in Spain. The outcome of the match was going to determine which between the two leading rivals of the La Liga shall bag the title this year.
Los Blancos had kept themselves on top of La Liga against all odds, but only momentarily. Real landed on a rough patch which they endured for weeks. After the groundbreaking series of neck-and-neck results of each rivals respective La Liga campaign, Barcelona upped the stakes when captain Lionel Messi took the course of the match into his own hands.
The Rise of ‘La Pulga’
The Argentine player is widely hailed as a phenomenal star of international football. Messi rose up to the ranks since his Clasico debut in 2003. Known as ‘La Pulga’ across his nation (The Infamous Atomic Flea), he instantly became a prodigy because of his extraordinary performances.
Messi won the ‘La Liga Player of the Month’ for February 2020. He was able to secure six assists in just three games. Two among them were against Levante, three against Real Betis and one against Getafe. Messi then got booked during the first leg of the Champions League; it was during the last sixteen tie against Napoli when he dove in on their goalkeeper David Ospina.
However, the crowd favourite also made new records in the most unexpected ways possible. It appears that Lionel has gone all ‘Messi’ this season. He soiled his disciplinary record with three yellow cards in his last three matches. The forward may have converted a penalty minutes before his team edged to a 1-0 victory against Real Sociedad, but it did not reel Barca out of the controversy.
Eric Abidal, Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien
The brewing issue surfaced when Eric Abidal released a statement that suggested that the players were not taking the game seriously enough. The club’s sporting director particularly aimed at Ernesto Valverde, whom Quique Setien replaced last January this year.
Setien made it clear that he already apologised to the players including every member of the club. He affirmed that the behaviour of Eder Sarabia, the assistant coach of Barca, was unacceptable. The 2-0 defeat by Real Madrid from last week took away Barcelona’s winning streak.
It was a bad week for the 61-year old manager of Barca. Setien was put in the hot seat after his team slipped to defeat against Madrid. Additionally, the rather disappointing performance of Messi in the 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid alarmed every speculator. In just a span of two weeks, the Barcelona captain was booked yet again following the yellow card he picked up during the El Clásico.
Lionel Messi’s Goal Against Real Sociedad
Messi looked like he was having an off day on the field when he side-footed a shot. Before he curled in to execute another, it eventually fell off target since he had not quite lined up the shot. Against all odds, La Pulga still prevailed as the match winner. Messi fired home a 81-minute penalty. This was his 19th league goal for the season.
Points-winning-penalties like these are giving Barcelona the chance of finishing the season with a silver lining. But, will Messi regain his magic touch on the field and prevail against all odds? What will happen in the future in the heated rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid? To catch up on the hottest updates on your favourite teams of the La Liga, check out football in-play betting at Sportsbet.io and other online sportsbooks to see the odds roll in real-time.