The Lionel Messi wonder goal that never was v Atletico Madrid in 2008

Barcelona's Argentinian Leo Messi reacts

Let's be honest here, Lionel Messi is one of the greatest to play the beautiful game.

The mercurial Argentine has established a formidable legacy and reputation, enduring as the all-time top goal scorer for his club, country and league. Throw in five Ballon d'Or titles, four Champions League trophies and an Olympic gold medal for good luck, too.

And despite Cristiano Ronaldo landing clean sweeps of the individual accolades over the last two years, Messi has started the 2017-18 campaign with the bit between his teeth.

No matter what the 30-year-old goes onto achieve during the remainder of his career, however, it's doubtful that the mercurial forward will ever reach his dizzying standards of the Pep Guardiola era.

The 2011-12 season saw Messi decimate Gerd Muller's goal scoring record with an astonishing 73 strikes in just 60 appearances.

Rewind to Guardiola's debut term at the Nou Camp, though, and Messi was shining in a formidable attacking triumvirate with no less than Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry.

In fact, it was an attacking force so lethal that Blaugrana were able to thump Atletico Madrid 6-1 in October 2008 with all three forwards finding the net. Rafael Marquez and Eidur Gudjohnsen also chipped in with a goal each.

Messi 'only' found the net once on this particular occasion but that very La Liga clash could have been one of his most memorable.

Barcelona's Argentinian Leo Messi reacts

That's because the then 20-year-old nearly scored one of the greatest goals of his entire career and one to rival his Diego Maradona-like strike against Getafe in 2007.

The Barcelona star picked up the ball from beyond the centre circle in his own half before instigating a one man counter attack at a remarkable pace.

Eventually reaching the edge of the penalty area, he looked to have sealed the deal with a delicate drop of the shoulder before chipping the onrushing goalkeeper.

Incredibly, though, the unthinkable happened and Messi missed the target.

Take a look below at 6:00:

Remarkably, Carles Puyol nearly provided a diving header assist from the edge of his own area.

Messi's reaction said it all and almost every fan in the Nou Camp that night were on their feet ready to celebrate.

Proof that Messi is human then, after all. 

Do you think Lionel Messi is the greatest player in history? Have your say in the comments section below.

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