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Messi's 'crazy ideas' make many goals
by Mike Woitalla, May 27th, 2011 3:43AM

TAGS:  spain, uefa champions league


[BARCELONA-MAN UNITED] If Barcelona beats Manchester United on Saturday (TV: Fox, 2:45 pm ET kickoff), Lionel Messi says he won't care whether he scores or not. But the odds are pretty good that the Argentine will hit the net. And while statistics don't come close to telling the whole story of Messi's brilliance, they say a lot.

Messi has scored 11 goals in 12 Champions League games this season. He struck 31 times to help Barcelona earn its third straight La Liga crown. In all competitions, he scored 52 goals in 54 games.

Asked during the buildup to Saturday’s final the secret of his incredible strike rate the past year -- up from a paltry 38 and 47 in the past two years -- Messi replied:

“I’ve gotten older and more experienced. Many situations on the grass I’ve already experienced, and have profited from that.”

That from a man who turns 24 next month.

“I make smarter decisions,” Messi said. “I know what I’m capable of, and that makes a big difference. I’m playing with incredible self-confidence. During a game I have crazy ideas in the head and am confident enough to turn them into something.”

So we see Messi score in every possible way. After slaloming through a mass of defenders. Bending free kicks. Sublimely chipping the ball over charging goalkeepers. Poking home one of his teammate's precise passes from close-range. Long-range rockets.

And, yes, even with his head, as in the Barcelona’s 2-0 Champions League final win over Manchester United in 2009 when he beat Rio Ferdinand, who stands nearly 8 inches taller than the 5-foot-7 Messi, to the ball.

He scored his first goal for Barcelona at age 17 and his total of 179 goals leaves him trailing only Ladislao Kubala (194) and Cesar Rodriguez (235) on Barcelona’s all-time scoring list.

In the 2010-11 La Liga season, Messi also made 19 assists, which means he scored or set up more than half the team's goals.

Messi has led Champions League scorers for three straight seasons. If he scores on Saturday, he’ll tie Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of Champions League goals in a season with 12.

Manchester United has conceded only four goals in its 12 Champions League games this season. But on Saturday it faces Messi and his crazy ideas.

Lionel Messi
(Barcelona 2010-11)

GP-G Competition
La Liga
7-7 Spanish Cup
2-3 Spanish Super Cup
12-11 UEFA Champions League
54-52 TOTAL

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: May 27, 2011 at 2 p.m.
    Messi has shown to be a great striker with Barca , I would like to see how he would be with a team like Arsenal, Man U or Chelsea....we have seen strikers that show great success with one team, move to another an do not do well...personally, I think the great strikers can do well with different teams...just like to see Messi do well with another team also before I put him at the top of my list of greatest strikers....
  1. Kent James
    commented on: May 27, 2011 at 2:25 p.m.
    Messi is clearly brilliant, but there are two statistics that really stand out for me (in addition to the goals he's scored). First, the number of assists. Most goal scorers are selfish (and rightly so); when near the goal, they want the ball and they want to shoot. The fact that Messi has so many assists either demonstrates that one need not adopt that strategy to score a lot of goals (perhaps by forcing a defense to think twice about overcommitting to cover him) or it just shows that he is really "the special one". The other amazing Messi statistic is his age; 23. That is scary...
  1. Chris Ogle
    commented on: May 27, 2011 at 6:15 p.m.
    Messi will play the rest of his career with the best club in the world,Barcelona. Anyway,why would he want to play for an English club where he'll be hacked to death by all those clumsy cavemen? Not only that but he'd have backward English coaches telling him not to dribble or use any of his skills.Messi is too smart to get suckered into that type of b.s. On top of that,he's already the third highest paid player in the world and soon to be the highest paid when he renegotiates his contract.

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