The Lionel Messi Barcelona years truly were some of the greatest football has ever seen.
In the famous colours of the Blaugrana, Messi broke every record there was to break, scoring goals for fun while winning trophy after trophy.
Alongside the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Messi formed a truly formidable partnership that would dominate the European landscape for years.
Later, Luis Suarez and Neymar would arrive as the terrifying trio redefined everything we thought we meant when we called football ‘the beautiful game’.
However, while all of the above-mentioned names are some of the greatest footballers to ever kick a ball about, Messi remains the common denominator.
There’s a reason he has a staggering seven Ballon d’Or titles tucked neatly away in his ridiculously well-stocked trophy cabinet.
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He has, for the entirety of his career, just been cut from a different cloth, spending his life running defenders absolutely ragged, leaving goalkeepers helpless and laying goals on a plate for his teammates.
His skill, vision, accuracy and outright audacity form a fierce, unplayable footballing cocktail, the likes of which may never be matched throughout the generations.
You can be certain that playing against him must be the nightmare to end all nightmares but can you imagine what it must be like to train with him on a daily basis?
Spare a thought for his Barcelona teammates over the years who were subjected to his genius in training drills and games on every single day.
After Messi recently spent the evening with new Barcelona coach Xavi to celebrate his birthday and, as fans reminisce, footage of the Argentine superstar in training with the Catalans has re-emerged.
In truth, Messi doesn’t even look like he is trying but what he manages to pull off is the sort of stuff us mere mortals can only dream of.
Unreal – that last goal in particular is pure filth. You know when Gary Lineker is retweeting the footage with a single-emoji caption that it must be something special.
Things may not have gone according to plan for Messi since he was forced to leave Barcelona for Paris but you can be sure that an electric run of form is just around the corner.
He has shown glimpses of his genius but now he just needs to string some consistent performances together.
If he can manage to get rumbling again, then defenders across Europe beware.