Lionel Messi missed Barcelona’s 0-0 draw against Malaga at the weekend but the world’s best player was back to full fitness, much to Celtic’s misfortune, on Wednesday night.
The Argentina international was in scintillating form at Celtic Park, scoring both of Barça’s goals as the visitors secured a 2-0 win.
Messi scored his first of the night midway through the first half, producing a superb finish past Craig Gordon, and doubled his side’s advantage from the penalty spot 10 minutes after half-time.
Needless to say, Celtic captain Scott Brown began to get a little frustrated.
The tough-tackling, no-nonsense central midfielder pushed Neymar to the ground when the two sides met earlier this season and this time he attempted to take out his frustration on Messi.
Video: Messi embarrasses Scott Brown
In the 81st minute, Messi received the ball over by the right touchline.
He paused as Brown came towards him and must have sensed that a bad challenge was coming his way.
Having spent his entire life dealing with frustrated opponents attempted to poleaxe him, Messi made light work of Brown.
With one expert drop of the shoulder, Messi fooled Brown and made him look an absolute idiot in his own back yard.
Had he not got out of the way, though, it could have resulted in a serious injury for Messi and a red card for Brown.
It was a disgusting attempt to win the ball.
Reaction on Twitter
Here’s how Twitter reacted…
Celtic fans appreciated Messi's performance
While Brown may not have appreciated Messi’s performance, the Celtic fans certainly did.
According to Guillem Balague, the Celtic fans applauded as Barcelona chanted “Messi, Messi”.
This was their way of showing respect to arguably the greatest footballer of all time.
Messi's mutual respect with Celtic
Messi endeared himself to the Celtic fans when he said Celtic Park has the best atmosphere in Europe.
“I have a Celtic jersey at home," he was quoted as saying by Yahoo. “The games against Celtic were special and I want to remember them.
“It is the best atmosphere in Europe and we all want to experience that again.”
And after Wednesday night, the mutual respect between Messi and Celtic has grown a little more.
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