Lionel Messi took all of three minutes & one dummy to remind us he’s a genius


Life as Lionel Messi can look like hard work at times. Thankfully, he still continues to make things on the pitch look far, far too easy.

Messi broke the glass on the alarms at the Camp Nou this summer by requesting to leave the club, and his future remains up in the air with no sign of an agreement for a new contract on the horizon.

Meanwhile, beleaguered president Josep Maria Bartomeu has finally agreed to stand down – which should, in theory, appease Messi – but there remains plenty of speculation about how well the Argentina international is settling under new manager Ronald Koeman.

Messi did little to suggest he was delighted to be playing in a Barcelona shirt by not trying to hide the fact he really, really couldn’t arsed defending against Dynamo Kiev in midweek.

To be fair to the 33-year-old, he has been carrying a minor ankle knock and was left on the bench for Barcelona’s La Liga clash with Real Betis on Saturday as Koeman decided not to take a risk with his star player’s fitness.

But an injury to Ansu Fati saw Messi take to the field as a half-time substitute. It didn’t take him long before he reminded us all why, quite frankly, we shouldn’t give a sh*t if he finds pressing a bit too tiring these days.

Modern football is very much a game of relentless running, speed and constant pressure. The intensity of the high-press popularised by the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp means some fixtures resemble basketball matches, such are their back-and-forth nature.

But amid such calculated chaos – and a 5-2 win over Real Betis featuring a combined 30 shots between both sides can very much be described as chaos – there is always room for a player who has the mental, and technical, capacity to slow things down and see the game as a whole.

Which explains why, three minutes and 12 seconds after coming on the pitch and with the score deadlocked at 1-1, Messi closed in on Jordi Alba’s cross and set himself to rifle the ball into the bottom corner – as he has done on so many occasions.

Except this time he didn’t even touch it, instead letting the ball roll between his legs to take two Betis defenders and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo completely out of the game.

How can you possibly get mad or frustrated at this? Life has felt difficult for us all in 2020; watching Lionel Messi only makes things easier.

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