Lionel Messi took his tally of goals in La Liga this season to 29 goals with a hat-trick in Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Leganes at the weekend.
While the football world celebrated Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics for Real Madrid against Juventus, Messi reminded everyone about his talent with a virtuoso display at the Camp Nou.
There are no words left to describe the Argentinian, who has led Barcelona to the verge of another La Liga title and to the quarter-final of the Champions League.
Messi celebrated his 30th birthday last summer but he’s showing no signs of slowing down just yet, even if his advancing years have seen him move into a deeper position on the pitch.
Nobody is counting down the days until Messi eventually has to move on from the Camp Nou, even if football fans are fully aware that it will happen one day.
Replacing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be a near-impossible task for Barcelona.
Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho have both arrived for fees in excess of £100 million but neither are as devastating in front of goal as Messi.
What Ronaldinho has said about Messi
It’s got Ronaldinho thinking about what the future holds for Barcelona without their main man.
“We just have to cross our fingers and hope that someone comes along with half of his ability,” the Brazilian, who spent five seasons at Barcelona, told Yahoo Sport. “That would already be enough.”
Ronaldinho helped Messi during his progression from the academy to the first team and heaping praise on the attacker comes naturally to the 38-year-old. And he wants football fans to treat Messi with the respect he deserves.
“I will never get tired of eulogising about Leo. He’s not just a great player; he’s a great person, a great human being. That’s the kind of thing we must never tire of praising,” he added.
“And when he gets on that field… well, then we could end up speaking for a whole year about Messi.
“He evolves with every game. Leo is a living legend and we must treat him with so much respect.”
Well said, Ronnie.
Indeed, it will be a sad day for football when Messi decides to hang up his boots.
Instead of debating where he ranks among the pantheon of football’s greats, we should enjoy him while we can.
For it will be some time before there’s another one like him.