Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez formed a lethal partnership at Barcelona.
While the iconic ‘MSN’ triumvirate might only have lasted for a handful of seasons, the combination of Messi and Suarez continued to shine for another three years after Neymar’s departure.
And while a gut-wrenching 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich might have bookended their lucrative collaboration, there’s no denying that they got plenty out of their work together at Camp Nou.
Messi and Suarez’s brilliance
We’d even go as far as to say that Suarez was the closest that Barcelona ever came to finding someone who could go punch for punch, strike for strike with Messi’s extraterrestrial goalscoring.
You really did feel as though at one point during the mid-2010s that the Blaugrana were only a Cristiano Ronaldo away from having the three most prolific goalscorers on the planet.
Besides, it says everything that in the long and prestigious history of Futbol Club Barcelona that Messi and Suarez have delivered the most and third-most goals for the men’s first-team.
And Suarez’s ability to hold his own amongst the Ballon d’Or winners was no better demonstrated than when he beat both Messi and Ronaldo to the 2015/16 European Golden Shoe with a staggering record of 40 La Liga goals in just 35 games.
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Messi has the goalscoring edge
However, in what is by no means a criticism of Suarez, the reality of the situation is that Messi would always emerge as the greater goalscorer of the two across a longer period of time.
Suarez might be one of the finest centre forwards of the modern era, but he could never quite produce the alien-like numbers that Messi was able to harvest on a season-by-season basis.
And few moments illustrate that point better than the final stages of Barcelona’s 4-2 league win over Eibar on May 21, 2017.
Suarez’s miss vs Eibar in 2017
While that might sound like the most random segue of all time, said moment revolves around a phase of play where Messi essentially gave Suarez a masterclass in how to find the back of the net.
With Barcelona having fought back from 2-0 down to lead their opponents 3-2, Suarez raced clear through on goal to seemingly wrap up the victory with a one-on-one finish in stoppage time.
But alas, the former Liverpool striker fluffed his lines and produced a truly shocking attempt by his lofty standards that Eibar goalkeeper Yoel Rodríguez was easily able to smother.
Messi bails out Suarez
The ball was eventually cleared into the path of Messi just seconds later, but because he was positioned all the way back on the halfway line, nobody really took notice of that fact.
However, they really should have done because while even the TV director switched to Suarez’s reaction to his miss at one point, it started to become clear that Messi, well, was doing a Messi.
And before we inevitably fail in our attempts to describe the pure intangible brilliance of Messi embarking upon one of his solo runs, be sure to check it out for yourself by watching the magical moment below:
Luis Suarez: misses— vinar ✪ (@vinarr__) August 6, 2021
Lionel Messi: fine I’ll do it myself 🐐
He really left us with some incredible moments ❤️
Messi clearly just thought: “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”
Messi saves the day
While Suarez might have missed one of the simplest one-on-ones he will have been presented with all season, Messi proceeded to score from a chance that, frankly, only he could even have created.
Obviously, it’s not a fair reflection of the pair all of the time, but it does illustrate the wider point that Messi was able to create something out of nothing whereas Suarez’s finishing could flatter to deceive every now again.
Then again, we are – of course – talking within the context of two of the greatest forwards to have ever lived and the historic numbers that Messi and Suarez have produced speak for themselves.
But let the iconic Eibar clip go to show that if you wanted one player and one player only out of Messi and Suarez to score a goal that would save your life, then you’re definitely pick the former.