Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Imperial Messi Over Shaktar

With a goal late in the first half at the Donbass Arena by the incomporable Lionel Messi, AKA 'Messi Wan Kenobi' here at Jedi Soccer, FC Barcelona retired Russian side Shaktar Donetsk to advance in Champions League competition.  Barcelona will now face Real Madrid in the semi-final matches, unless the Galacticos completely choke later today in their match against English side Tottenham Hotspur.

With a 5 - 1 goal advantage over Shaktar, it was a foregone conclusion that Barca would advance; but even so, Shaktar mounted a ferocious attack on the Barcelona goal early in the match, determined to erase the deficit.  But Barca weathered the storm and eventually, inevitably, the tide shifted, leading to Messi's game-winning goal.

But the real news here is not Barcelona's victory, but the continued brilliance of Lionel Messi this season, in both Spanish League and Champions League competition.  Messi's goal at the Donbass brought him to the incredible, record-shattering total of 48 goals in one season  This is now officially the highest goal tally of any Barcelona player in a single season-- and there are still over six weeks remaining in the season.


And it doesn't end there.  With nine goals already in Champions League competition this season, Messi appears primed not only to recapture the Champions League 'Golden Boot' award-- which he won in 2009 with 9 goals, and again last year with 8-- but also to surpass Ruud Van Nistlerooy's previous Champions' League record of 12 goals.  Who will wager against Lionel Messi surpassing Nistlerooy's total enroute to his third consecutive Golden Boot award?  Not me.

According to Paul Macdonald at,

'Van Gol' remains the man to beat, but Messi is incessant this season, and given the fact that he was desperate to play in what was effectively a dead rubber against Shaktar, with Barca holding a 5 - 1 advantage from the first leg, highlights his desire to continue to push the boundaries of excellence, and also hints at a hugely competitive streak that stretches beyong the quest for team success.'

If you love soccer, and you are not paying attention to what is going on at FC Barcelona this season, you are missing one of the most historic seasons in the history of professional futbol.

Enjoy the ride.