It was his landmark game, 300, the number on the appearances column for his beloved club Barcelona. If fairytales truly existed, the Lionel Messi love story with Los Cules would
definitely be as heart-warming and emotive as they come.
What begun as a growth-hormone induced transfer from native Rosario to Catalonia has blossomed into a 300 page romance novel with Barcelona as the author and Lionel ‘La Pulga’ Messi as the main character.
There have been highs and lows, peaks and troughs but undoubtedly, the happier times have been, for the most part, what has been so endearing and captivating for fans and neutrals alike.
What Messi and Barcelona share is something special, something remarkable, and the 300th La Liga episode of their soap opera deserved something memorable to mark the occasion and as has been the case countless times before, up stepped Leo.
Levante were the unfortunate team playing the role of villain and they were torn apart. It almost seemed like fate, like destiny had dictated that Messi would honour his milestone with a magical performance.
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From the very first minute he set about his task like a man on a mission, just one among the many he has undertaken in the armour of the Nou Camp, but the motivation this time
was much more closer to home.
He set up the first goal for Neymar in what has truly blossomed into an almost telepathic partnership between the two before a cool side-footed finish doubled their lead.
Pedro’s center was then converted by the Argentinian and it seemed like just a matter of time before he had another opportunity to bag his third and seal another hat-trick, a record equaling one at that and, after Neymar was clumsily upended by Ivan Lopez, there was no handing over the baton to the Brazilian as he had done in mid-week against
Messi stepped up and sent Marino the wrong way to match his great and only rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, on 23 domestic trebles. It was done.
Luis Suarez came off the bench to score a beauty of an overhead kick that drew perhaps the loudest cheer of the night as the Camp Nou showed its affection for their latest addition.
However, there was no question who the night, as has been the tale on many occasions throughout his time, belonged to. Lionel Messi, 300 games, 266 goals for Barcelona, absolutely majestic.
Messi seems like he is playing at inter-galactic levels since the start of the year and that is quite a statement for someone who is used to routinely doing the previously incomprehensible.
This has been his most productive January return to date with 14 goals and 9 assists and at the current searing rate at which he is finding the net, the man from Rosario is
well placed to match the 91 goal record he set in 2012.
Ladies and gents…..be afraid, be very afraid. Bring on Manchester City.