It’s always a joy to watch Lionel Messi play football - even when it’s his first game back in pre-season.
Regardless of how match-fit he might be at any given time, the Barcelona superstar is always likely to produce a moment of magic when the ball falls to his feet.
Messi has endured something of a traumatic summer - he retired from international duty following Argentina’s defeat to Chile in the Copa America final and was then handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence a week later after being found guilty of three tax crimes - but the 29-year-old looked unfazed as he faced Premier League title holders Leicester City in the International Champions Cup on Wednesday.
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Messi was a constant thorn in the Foxes’ side and played his part in all three of Barcelona’s first-half goals, including providing a lovely assist for Munir’s opener.
The South American was on the pitch for 62 minutes before he was subbed off for the talented youngster Carlos Aleña - and Catalan newspaper Sport handed him a 9/10 rating, naming him as the Man of the Match.
“The team plays much more smoothly when Leo is around,” Sport reporter Julio Smith summarised. “All the danger stemmed from his boots, involved in all three goals, with the first coming after a delightful defence-splitting pass. Could have set up more goals had his teammates been more clinical.”
Video: Messi nutmegs Albrighton
Sixty-two minutes, however, was more than enough time for Messi to embarrass several Leicester players - including Marc Albrighton.
The English winger went on to dispossess the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in the 19th minute, but was left red-faced when the ball was expertly placed between his legs from a side-on angle.
Messi then unleashed a powerful left-footed effort from 30 yards, but was unable to trouble the Leicester goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler on that occasion.
Messi signed Albrighton's shirt afterwards
The world’s best player, however, made it up to Albrighton by signing a shirt for him after the match.
It’s safe to say that will be worth almost as much to him as the Premier League winners’ medal he picked up back in May.
Video: Messi's highlights v Leicester
Want to see the rest of Messi’s highlights against Leicester? Watch the following video…
Will this be Lionel Messi’s best season so far? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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