As Barcelona played Real Betis, Lionel Messi came on as a substitute for David Villa after 56 minutes and quickly left his mark on the game as he fired in a blistering free-kick from 30 yards out four minutes later.

A cunning pass from Alexis Sanchez 11 minutes after the hour mark also enabled Messi to score his second goal of the evening, as he helped Barcelona defeat Real Betis 4-2 at the Camp Nou.

The No.10 playmaker’s performance was at the centre of many headlines right after the match, and for Argentina national team coach Alejandro Sabella, Messi’s display as a super-sub was nothing less than breath-taking.

The Argentine boss told reporters: “Messi scored two goals and could have scored more.

“Barca did enough to deserve the win, but it was not an easy match.

"Regardless, Messi is the kind of player who can change everything when he comes on.”

Barcelona’s official all-time top scorer, who was rested against Bayern Munich last week in the Champions League semis, has entered the scoring sheet 46 times in La Liga this season. 

This gives him a comfortable 13-goal lead ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish Primera Division’s goalscoring chart.

But at the weekend, Messi’s target of bagging a hat-trick to expand the gap was narrowly missed. Commenting on the player’s dissatisfaction at the end of the encounter, Sabella 

continued by saying: “This is what the greatest players are like. They get annoyed about things that would not bother other players.”

Sabella, who appointed Lionel Messi as captain of the Argentina national team, has won 14 games out of 22 with the Albiceleste since 30 July 2011.


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