He already had a relevant participation in the first goal against Celta in the 10 minutes. Above, to the left, the goalkeeper Rubén Blanco gave a rebound and Ousmane Dembelé took advantage. But there was more to Lionel Messi, of course. There is always more. At the time of the first half, after a great pass from Jordi Alba – at the moment, one of the best partners of the rosque rookie -, impeccably defined, in the position of center-forward. He repeated the rite of his celebration, waving to heaven, to his grandmother Celia. On the sides, the usual thing happened: the homage of the cousins in the Camp Nou.
This time he set no record. But it was not far from another of its defining brands: He finished his year on the calendar with 51 goals in 53 games, between your club and the National Team. For now, he is the top scorer of 2018. The detail comes a handful of days after receiving the Golden Boot, the fifth of his career.
Robert Lewandowski, 48, follows him. This Saturday in the 3-0 of Bayern Munich against Frankfurt did not score. The only one that can reach is Cristiano Ronaldo, of Juventus, that totals 46. He will have to make five in the two remaining games of the Vecchia Signora: against Atalanta in Bergamo and Sampdoria in Turin. Last year, just last week, he was outclassed by Englishman Harry Kane.
Its continuity is impressive: has nine successive seasons converting more than 40 goals between all official competitions with the Catalan giant. The highlight was the 11/12 campaign in which he scored 73 goals in 60 matches. It's a goal machine. And also the game: on his club tour adds 225 assists.
Corresponds to say about this 2018: the face of the disappointment experienced with the selected. Elimination in the second round of the World Cup in Russia, against France, it's a visible scar. However, the pain did not move to his game. Messi, after the blow, is still Messi. Even if they do not give him the Golden Ball or the Best of FIFA, this time won by Croatian Luka Modrid.
This time, before Celta, without the brilliance of so many memorable days and nights, with their performance came to him to be the most influential player on the court, again the figure. In addition, with his goal, he established himself as the top scorer of this season's Liga of Spain with 15 goals, four more than Cristian Stuani (of Girona) and his teammate Luis Suárez. He goes to his sixth Pichichi. He wants to match Telmo Zarra's record.
With the first-half flashes, Messi's decisive contribution to the game, with his growing defensive solidity (despite his multiple defensive injuries, not having scored in the last four games), Barcelona won 2-0. was the only leader, with three points ahead of Atletico Madrid.
"We did not have a difficult time", was the summary offered by coach Ernesto Valverde about the game under the Catalan sky. Reality in its pure state. So much so that the second half seemed like an aggregate for statistics. Barcelona made efforts; the Celta exhibited its limitations. Somehow, it was about a bureaucratic victory, illuminated by those magical moments offered by Messi. So many times. Often …