Barcelona's Lionel Messi produced a stunning run to set up 699th career goal

p1eavem0vh1d4b49hh9ggo3t9t9.jpg

Lionel Messi moved to 699 career goals during Barcelona's 2-0 win over Leganes on Tuesday night.

Camp Nou hadn't hosted a football match for over 100 days and although fans are becoming increasingly used to games being played behind closed doors, it seemed even more dramatic with over 99,000 seats laying dormant.

It was certainly sad to see Messi and co. playing the sort of football that attracts thousands of supporters from around the world in front of gigantic, empty stands.

Nevertheless, the Blaugrana still had a job to do and their 4-0 win away to Mallorca in their first match back for almost three months was the perfect launchpad for their 'homecoming'.

But Leganes weren't simply going to lie down and take a beating, casting doubt over whether there's any home advantage to be had in empty stadiums by forcing Clement Lenglet into an early goal-line clearance.

Barcelona 2-0 Leganes

Eventually, though, Barcelona made good of their half-chances by taking the lead before half-time and it came virtue of boy wonder Ansu Fati, now at the grand old age of 17.

After a scrappy exchange involving Junior Firpo and Messi on the edge of the box, Fati slammed his foot on the accelerator of the hype train by firing a venomous shot in the bottom corner.

Antoine Griezmann looked to have doubled the home side's advantage after the break, only for VAR to cut his celebrations short, before Messi himself decided to take things into his own hands.

p1eavijgbg18f91gjms691knjc7hb.jpg

Messi's stunning halfway line run

A superb run from the halfway line, including a sweet one-two with Luis Suarez, earned him a penalty that he duly converted by sending the 'keeper the wrong way to move to 699 career goals.

At first, it would seem rather underwhelming that Messi moved to within the stunning tally of 700 goals by scoring from the penalty spot, but that aforementioned run was what made it special.

Leganes players had literally tried to rugby tackle Messi earlier on in the match and their physicality was apparent in the way Barca's star man had to shake off stray arms on his way to the area.

Combine that with the foul that propagated the penalty and the futile nature of trying to stop Messi with brute force was clear for everyone to see. Check it out down below:

Messi is an unstoppable force. Simple as that.

So many players would have gone down around the centre-circle when the Leganes players were all over his jersey, but Messi was hellbent on charging towards the opposition goal.

And credit also to Messi for holding his nerve from the spot, especially when you consider his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo had come up short from 12 yards on his return vs AC Milan. 

p1eavikoaapmb1a1b16h0ih1ohfd.jpg

There's a real feeling that 100 days away from Camp Nou has lit a fire in Messi's belly that could drive him on to a dramatic end to the season and perhaps Ballon d'Or contention.

When he's driving through entire teams like a knife through butter, you know you're in trouble.

News Now - Sport News