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Will the real Lionel Messi please stand up!

Messi, Poor form

Lionel Messi’s performances mirror that of Barcelona. Or vice versa. Or both. It was perfectly illustrated in Barcelona’s second leg Champions League quarterfinal tie against Atletico Madrid. Training 0-2, Barca needed one goal to level the tie on aggregate and head to extra time. The Catalans were awarded a free kick (it should have been a penalty!) on the edge of the ‘D’. Messi presided over the ball and missed the target, just as Barca missed the mark in the Champions league this year.

Lionel Messi has now gone five club matches without a goal. He has been stuck on 499 career goals since last month, with his last strike being against Arsenal in the previous round of the Champions League. This is Messi’s worst run for Barcelona in over six years. This is also the first time he has gone without scoring or assisting for the club in five successive games.

By winning just one of their last five games, this is Barcelona’s worst run in the last two years. The last time they failed to score in the Champions League was also against Atletico in the quarterfinals two years ago, when they were knocked out as well. The club went on to win the Champions League in the interim period though, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

While unthinkable some time ago, a case can be made for Messi leaving the Nou Camp. It’s been a couple of years since the little man was last at his peak. He had a sudden surge in form at the end of 2015 as he snatched the Ballon d’Or from Cristiano Ronaldo. In hindsight, Neymar or Ronaldo himself, seemed like the more obvious choice.

But the more important question remains, is it time for Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona? If he were to leave, the most obvious destination would be re-uniting with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.



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