Football ran out of superlatives for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi a long time ago.
The Argentina international, who picked up a record-breaking fifth Ballon d’Or award in Zurich last month, continues to amaze on a weekly basis with his extraordinary - and perhaps even unprecedented - ability with the ball at his feet.
On Sunday night, Messi helped make it 34 matches unbeaten for Barcelona with a free-kick that might well be the best of his career to date. Vitolo put Sevilla in front at the Camp Nou, but Messi’s moment of magic levelled the scores (scroll down this page to watch the video) before Gerard Pique completed the turnaround early in the second half.
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Messi usually aims for the near post with his free-kicks but caught Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico out by targeting the opposite corner of the net last night.
Rico took a step to his right which proved costly; Messi’s magnificent free-kick flew past him in a flash.
Video: Lionel Messi's free-kick
Video: Messi's free-kick from the stands
Messi's 30th goal of the season
This was Messi’s 30th goal of the campaign for Barcelona in all competitions - the eighth consecutive season in which he’s reached that milestone - while he also managed to climb up to sixth place in the race for the Pichichi.
Luis Suarez still leads the race for Spanish football’s top goalscorer award with 25 goals and is the favourite to win the individual accolade, but Messi is now just nine behind and could catch the Uruguayan - not that he necessarily wants to.
As we saw earlier this month, against Celta Vigo, Messi appears keen to help Suarez beat Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to the Pichichi this season.
Barcelona firm favourites for the title
The South American, in any case, has always been more concerned with winning team trophies rather than securing individual awards - and he’ll be delighted that Barcelona extended their lead over Real Madrid to an insurmountable 12 points this weekend.
Luis Enrique’s closest challengers for the title are Atletico Madrid, who sealed a famous 1-0 win over their local rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
"We have Atletico relatively close -- eight points plus goal average," Luis Enrique was quoted as saying after the 2-1 win over Sevilla by ESPN. "But it is not about believing what others say. We have aimed to retain the title since the first week, we are now at week 26, with another game midweek [on Thursday at Rayo Vallecano].
"We are in an unimprovable position as we head towards the decisive part of the season."
And on the unbeaten record, Enrique added: "I have a long time yet before the grandkids, don't scare me with that, my children are still young.
"But this run will mean zero, unless we win trophies [at the end of the season]."
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