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Opinion: Why Messi is a victim of his own success

The phenomenal tale of the Argentinian who has become a victim of his own extraordinary standards. Tough being a Lionel Messi these days!

Last updated: 07.09.2019
Opinion: Why Messi is a victim of his own success | Sports Social Blog

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After FIFA snubbed Lionel Messi for 'The Best Player of the Year' for the second time in as many years, one is left to ponder what more could an individual need to win that award. Although Virgil van Dijk has had a phenomenal season himself, winning the Champions League and finishing just a point off eventual champions City in the Premier League. Lionel Messi made a case for himself after a string of unbelievable performances for Barcelona. Due to his incredible numbers and consistency over the years, he has set the bar too high that even after an exceptional season in front of goal, fans were left asking for more. Such has been the story for the last three-four seasons.

Here, we are talking of a player who has always hit double marks since the 2006-07 campaign, a record that puts even the greatest strikers to shame. Although van Dijk's influence on the Liverpool side was clearly visible, Barcelona without Messi was just a shadow of itself. They looked clueless and one was left wondering who bought them this deep into the competition. Guess who? Top scorer in both La Liga and UCL, along with leading the assist chart, Messi was involved in 54.5% of Barcelona's goals in the league. Quite astounding a number in itself. Imagine the same numbers with any other player, he would have swept all the awards by now. But with Messi, it was just another year.

All the stats from last season: 


Let's check the stats before moving any further. Messi won the La Liga along with a runner-ups finish in the Copa Del Rey and semi-final exit to the hands of Liverpool in the UCL. But wait, 'FIFA The Best' is an award acknowledging the individual performances of the players. Messi topped the La Liga chart for both goals(36) and assists(19), top scorer in the UCL. A thumping 70 goals throughout the season, the highest in the top five leagues across Europe. Topped La Liga for total shots, shots on target, big chances created, fouls won in the final third, goals from outside the box, goals from free-kicks, number of braces and hat tricks. This was his fifth season in La Liga with 35+ goals. Insane, in its truest form!

He was not even playing as a striker:

When you see the number two or three on all those lists, a lot of their goals were a result of poaching. Strikers wait in the penalty box to pounce on every opportunity that comes their way. Lionel Messi can be seen further back along the midfield area, making his way down the line or cutting in to make life difficult for the opposition defenders. He carries the ball so neatly that even the best in business hesitate to involve in any kind of tackle against Messi. Last season, Valverde left the Argentinian on the bench against relatively weak opponents. And when they found themselves behind in mid-game. It was that man again who was called upon to do the necessary and more often than not, he didn't disappoint. 

Just a bad game is all it takes: 

Lionel Messi promised the fans that the club will play for the Champions League and will give it all to bring the trophy back home. And it was all going well until the second leg of their semi-final clash with Liverpool. Coming into the game with a 3-0 numerical advantage which included a brace from Messi, they had one foot in the final. But disaster was to follow as they were hammered 0-4 away from home from an inspired Liverpool-side. Imagine carrying the whole club at your shoulders for good 55 games and then the only game you misfired, the team is out of the Champions League. Everyone is pointing fingers at you. Your big game mentality is questioned, in spite of the fact that in the first leg itself, you produced perhaps the best goal of the entire season. More misery was to follow as Barcelona lost to Valencia in the Copa Del Rey final.

The awards have become quite ridiculous:  

'FIFA The Best' is awarded to the most brilliant individual performer for the whole year. And as far as individual performances are concerned, there is no-one coming even close to the Barcelona captain as he is having the highest ratings from all the major sources there is around the globe. He has more MOTMs than any other player in Europe's top five leagues. He was named as the POTW for a record five times throughout the entire UCL campaign. What more does he need to do is a big question in itself. Should he make Barcelona win those 38 games in the league, along with some 13-odd games in the UCL to win an "individual award"? Ridiculous, isn't it?

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