Lionel Messi is the protagonist of Barcelona’s awe-inspiring attacking trio, and now he’s revealed the secrets behind his, Luis Suarez and Neymar’s success.
The Argentine, who celebrated his talent by claiming a fifth Ballon d’Or title at last month’s FIFA ceremony, has played in some formidable offences during his career, but none have been as potent or as exciting as Barcelona’s current MSN strike force.
The trio take on Arsenal in Tuesday’s Champions League tie at the Emirates Stadium and many are predicting a grim night for the Gunners’ defence.
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Combined, MSN has scored 91 goals this season - Suarez leads the way with 41 goals, Messi has 27 and Neymar has 21 - and the triumvirate have been revolutionary since joining forces in 2014.
Messi puts their success down to all being on the same wavelength, and you’ve only to watch a Barcelona game to realise their understanding is so clear you’d think the three had played with one another their whole careers.
The 28-year-old was quoted by Sport as telling 7Days: “Every success you see at Barcelona is the result of hard work, but between the three of us there is a real natural understanding.
“We have got a great relationship and understanding together, but we are always believing we can take it to an even higher level.”
Now that’s a scary thought. MSN can’t take it to another level, can they?
Well, it would be foolish to put it past them. The pinnacle would surely be reached if the three are standing on the podium at next year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, having been ranked the first, second and third best footballers in the world.
That was almost the case this year, but Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo got in the way. The Portuguese was sandwiched between Messi and Neymar in the voting, with Suarez finishing fifth.
Arsenal are the next team tasked with stopping the world’s greatest from being, well, great. Arsene Wenger’s team are underdogs to progress to the quarter-finals but will find optimism in the fact that they beat Barcelona the last time the Catalan giants played at the Emirates, Robin van Persie and Arshey Arshavin scoring the Gunners’ goals in a 2-1 win five years ago.
Thierry Henry, the former striker who represented both clubs, reckons Arsenal are “practically dead” if Barcelona are able to neutralise the threat of chief playmaker Mesut Ozil.
The Frenchman told Barcelona’s website: “Ozil is incredible, he has a ton of assists. He is playing very, very very well, as he used to at [Real] Madrid. After two very difficult seasons, he’s doing very well.
“If you can stop Ozil, Arsenal are practically dead.”
Henry's prediction is ominous, and perhaps slightly unfair to former Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez.
The Chilean posted a nice tribute to his old team on Instagram, thanking the players with whom he “shared beautiful moments.”
Sanchez certainly won’t be so grateful on the pitch. He is, after all, facing the team who deemed him not good enough and went on to enjoy immense success without him.