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The gift of watching Messi
by Paul Kennedy, March 8th, 2012 12:50AM

TAGS:  barcelona, spain, uefa champions league


[WORLD VIEW] His first goal alone, a delicate chip over Bayer keeper Bernd Leno, would have been worth the price of admission for Barcelona fans, but Lionel Messi outdid himself, repeating the move on the third goal and scoring five goals in Barca's 7-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. He had never scored as many as five goals in a game before. And no one had hit that total in the 20 years of the Champions League.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola put the Messi night's in perspective when he said,  "It's not easy to score five goals in a single game and that's coming from someone who scored 11 in his entire career."

Messi made the first goal look easy, looking around after Xavi played him alone into the penalty area for the scoop over Leno, as if he were a basketball player looking around before he went up for a dunk.

Cesc Fabregas sprung Messi for the Argentine's second chip -- even more difficult than the first -- this one with his weaker right foot and taken with a defender on him.

Messi's second and fifth goals were patented Messi goals as he moved inside to avoid his markers and line up his shot with his left.

His fourth goal was pure garbage but even that goal showed just how much he had confounded his German opponents. Two Bayer defenders fell out of the way as Messi moved in on Leno, leaving him alone for a tap-in -- off the far post -- of a shot Leno couldn't handle.

"Tonight we witnessed one of Messi's most special nights," said Guardiola. "Watching it was like receiving a gift."

  1. Kent James
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.
    I believe the word "sublime" was invented to describe Messi's skill. He makes it look so effortless. Nothing particularly fancy, it's just that he operates in a different dimension than everyone else.
  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 9:54 a.m.
    The are no words. He is simply the best ever,at least from what I have seen.At age 24,is even better still to come?
  1. Doug Broadie
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 11:28 a.m.
    You are correct - there are no words. As much as we'd love to compare him to Maradona and Pele', we can't. Different times. Maradona played in Europe in a much more defensive league in Italy and was brilliant. It was truly a joy to watch Messi yesterday. I hooped joyously at the TV

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