Cristiano Ronaldo may have taken home a fifth Ballon d'Or award this week, but Lionel Messi has started the 2017-18 campaign like a man possessed.
The 30-year-old has already scored 20 goals and provided five assists for club and country this season with Barcelona commanding a five point lead at the top of the La Liga table.
Nevertheless, a Sunday night trip to Villarreal is never an easy task and Barcelona didn't have it all their way at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
In fact, it wasn't until the 72nd minute that Blaugrana were able to break the deadlock.
Sliding through the Villarreal defence with ease and rounding the goalkeeper, Luis Suarez eventually fired Barcelona into the lead with a fine finish.
The Uruguayan nearly had another just minutes later as Messi began to work his magic - delivering a breath-taking lobbed pass that was volleyed just wide of the target.
In the 83rd minute, though, Messi bagged a goal of his own and it came in typically brilliant fashion.
Victor Ruiz sloppily conceded possession to Sergio Busquets in the middle, who found Messi with the little Argentine taking two Villarreal defenders out of the game in a single motion.
Such was the intricacy of his dribbling, the deftness of his movement and potency of his strength that Messi drew both defenders into one another, leaving himself in acres of space.
You know the rest. Take a look at the goal:
Did Messi foresee clattering the defenders into one another? Unlikely, but it exemplifies just how deadly his dribbling can be at full flow.
If nothing else, the goal will nestle befittingly in the latest round of Messi skill compilations.
As long as the little Argentine can maintain this form, not only should another La Liga trophy settle in his hands but don't be surprised if his Ballon d'Or 'drought' comes to an end.
What. A. Player.
Do you think Lionel Messi is the certified GOAT? Have your say in the comments section below.
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