Leo Messi: Greatest In My World

“I don’t even want to compare Messi to anyone else – it just isn’t fair. On them.” – Xavi Hernandez

I cannot count the times where I wish I were eloquently verbose. I wish I had the skill and the vocabulary to aptly describe the things I see. I wish I had such mastery of the English language that I could do some kind of justice to the greatest player I will ever see on a football pitch: Lionel Andres Messi. That I could write some kind of eulogy or homage that will give people just a glimpse — a taste — of amazement and joy he brings me every time I see him play.

I truly wish I did, but it will remain just that – a wish. As much as it depresses me I just can’t. I don’t hold any hope that I could do any kind of justice to the great man, so I won’t bother. I have a sneaky suspicion that even if I could, there are simply no words currently available in any language that could hope to accurately encompass the pure joy, wonder, excitement, feelings of watching Leo Messi play football. Simply the best at what he does.

You could swear, you could scream, you could frantically text a friend/relative/significant other, you could just simply hold your head in your hands… but somehow it still just isn’t enough.

Lionel Messi is the reason why I’m a football fan*. Why I bother to go out of my way to intently watch grown men kick a ball around for an hour and a half. Why I bother staying in fandom (so I can share and fawn over it with other people). To me, he is and will always be the greatest. I thought so last year, three years ago, six years ago; and I will think so twenty years from now too. That my first ever football kit is Messi’s 07-08 one with the #19 on the back is a massive source of pride.

[*If you’re interested, I wrote an embarrassingly long post about how I became a footy fan when I first became a mod of BFB. You can read it here but make sure you have a lot of time on your hands. When I say long, I mean long.]

I want to see him play live. Badly. The result of that game doesn’t even matter. I want to say one day that I saw Leo Messi play. Live. In the flesh. But you know what? Even if that doesn’t work out, I feel honoured to be born in the era of such a great. That I can watch a living legend make history in front of my eyes and say, “Yep. He really was that good.”

I watched this game against Granada in the living room of my house where my mom and a guest were talking about whatever they talk about on the others side of the room. When Messi scored his hattrick, I tried to explain to them the significance and the — forgive me — the utter epicness of what just happened.

But I couldn’t. I was literally at a loss for words. Nothing I said seem to be enough. So I tried to gesticulate, to move my hands frantically in all directions, as if I could palm my feelings into them, but…nada. They didn’t really understand; my mom is well aware of my football obsession, but they didn’t get why a short guy putting a ball in a net was such a big deal.

You know what my mom said? “Well, that’s nice… I don’t see what the big deal is though. Weren’t you talking about that guy this weekend*? Didn’t he do the same thing?”

*[in reference to Messi’s nutmeg chip goal against Sevilla where I called her down from upstairs and just pathetically pointed to the screen during the replay]

Cue the “No, Mom! He did do that great thing but this is another, completely different, greater thing that is just so…great” but then I realized that to some it’s just…meh. Typical. Ordinary. Routine. That to the casual viewer Messi scores goals like this all the time. That’s crazy.

You know the craziest thing is?

“[Messi] doesn’t just score lots of goals, he scores lots of great goals. And he does it every three days.” – Pep Guardiola

And it’s not just the goals too. It’s not just the goals. I could give you a crap load of insane statistics (54 goals in 55 official games this season (and counting); 192 goals in 204 official games under Pep; involved in 75 of Barcelona’s 148 goals this season: 53 goals scored and 22 assisted; first player in history to score 54 goals in a single Liga season) but that’s just supplementary.

It’s the way he play the freaking game of football. His runs, his positional sense, his workrate, his vision… In so many ways, he’s actually underrated. If it were just about the goals, Pippo Inzaghi and other such poachers would be the best ever. With Messi, a goal is like another memory. (Forget who said that, but it’s apt).

I know that stats are just another way to try and encompass greatness but to me they are just inadequate; lacking. You can’t put the way he plays football — the feelings you get when you watch him go on one of those dazzling runs or an inch perfect through pass in traffic — into a stat. It’s impossible. You just can’t put feelings into a stat and that’s unfortunate. Just as I wish I could put it into words, I’m sure statisticians are hoping to put it into numbers.

And it’s just not enough, dammit.

Getting this out of the way, no, I’ve never seen Maradona, Pele, Cruyff, etc. play. (Which is unfortunate as they are greats of the game). And I don’t care if he never wins that thrice damned World Cup. He’s the best I’ve ever seen and even if someone new happens to emerge in the future he’ll always be the best in my eyes.

Forgive the shameless fangirling put into post form, but Dios mio. And it’s not just because he became the all-time top scorer in Barca history too. I could have written this five years ago and it would still be valid.

Lionel freakin’ Messi.

“It is clear that Messi is on a level above all others. Those who do not see that are blind.” – Xavi

Now watch some clips.

[by fcbarcelona]

[by WizardofOx]

[by Leboakatio]


– Barca is kind of awesome too. We’re coming into great form.

– Temporarily at 5 points in the Liga for those who care. (2 points for the extremely cheeky ones. 😛 )

– It’s a pity that Adriano is a Robben (read: a talented glassman). Out for 10 days, so that means more Pique – who, as I’ve said before, is not as bad as people think but has these inexplicable lapses in concentration that could be costly. He’s the most decisive player with regards to our CL hopes. If we’re going to continue in that competition, we need Gerard Pique, the World Cup winning centre back. Is it because he’s missing Bojangles? Or it is because he has Cesc now? Totally relevant questions, for sure.

– Glad Puyi, Alexis, Keita and Thiago all got some time under their belts too. Busi was rested too!

But enough of that, watch some Barca videos.

(Old video but still good by Lenny)

And just one more (by Leboakatio):

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. Kari, LOVE this post!
    Watching him play brings smile to my face. If I ever see Messi in person, picture me doing a Ray Hundson scream x 1000 and faint 🙂

    My absolute favorite Messi moment is the Athletic Bilbao game where he dribbled his way into the box and was pulled down by Javi Martinez. His reaction was priceless, pure joy!

  2. Apologies for the lack of a proper post. Maybe someone more eloquent than me will come around and wax proper lyrical about Messi.

    Just insane. Holy crap Batman.

    Took today’s game by the scruff of the neck too.

  3. Kari, thank you so much for this post. If you do see him live, try to avoid it being in an international game against your own country. I made that choice and for one game I felt a powerful surge of empathy for all Merengues.

    I did not witness the magical figure of wonder and joy that week in and week out gives me cause to sing. Wearing the #10 shirt for the Albiceleste and the face of one of my favorite players, a horrible little bully charged and sliced through my countrymen with careless impunity. They tried, they really did, but the Stars and Stripes were woefully inadequate to the task of stopping him. All we could do was to hope they could mitigate the damage.

    Visions of his magic at Barcelona came back to me through a warped prism of nationalism and memories that were beatific came at me then as dark and foreboding. When he didn’t have the ball, I kept a trembling eye on him, knowing what might happen should he acquire it. Whenever he touched the ball, fear seized me. “If he must score, at least let my team look dignified in the process”, I thought. I was happy we drew 1-1 but we had been outclassed so terribly. Bless you, Tim Howard, for your heroics that game.

    I plan to see him live this summer against Brazil, and I look forward to cheering for him this time. Seriously. I appreciate seeing him as an adversary but I wasn’t quite prepared for the experience to be as it was, and I want it to be more like when I watch him on a screen.

    1. I don’t think I could ever cheer against Messi. Even if Argentina was playing against NZ I’d cheer first for Messi and then for NZ. :/

    2. I would cheer against Messi in two seconds if he ever went somewhere that found him facing Barca, just as I did when Eto’o came out for Inter. I booed and whistled, loud, long and lustily. For me, club over any player. Always.

    3. alright cool, never heard you say that before.

      sarcasm, you say that all the time. i dont know why you always have to make that point. i just dont know what the point is…that your fanship of the club is more valid?

      for me, personalities are what make the game fun. and, it is just a game. and those are real people playing the game. and it is hard not to like some players more than others. to me, some players seem like dicks. some seem nice. for instance, lets say paolo di canio was blaugrana. would you say you are not a fan of abidal any more than than you are of di canio?

      if the answer is yes, well i simply cant relate.

      not trying to start a fight. sincerely, just wondering.

    4. No, not that my fanship of the club is more valid, rather that my love of the club supersedes all.

      If DiCanio was Blaugrana, it wouldn’t matter. The club would still be the club. The club is. Players come and go.

    5. I definitely respect your philosophy of club over any player, and I see the reasoning behind it. On the other hand though, I don’t see how you could boo and whistle Messi, for an example of a former Barca player. Here’s why:

      Clubs may supersede players, but human beings supersede players and clubs. People say about Messi that he is incredibly humble, and if he came out against Barca he would be that same exact humble person. Humility is important to me and it’s part of the reason I respect Messi. I couldn’t ever disrespect a good, humble person like Messi just because he doesn’t play for my club anymore. Messi isn’t a person that deserves to be booed. You could apply this to any player who is also a good person, really. I know you have a ton of respect for Abidal, but if he changed teams would you boo him? I wouldn’t – he’s a person that commands respect no matter what shirt he wears.

      So, I believe in people over clubs. What do you think?

    6. I had the same dread cheering against Spain last summer in Boston, but at least in my case Xavi and Puyol weren’t there. Busi, Pique, and Iniesta were more than enough. And Cazorla was absolutely ruthless. The U.S. didn’t stand a chance!

    7. Hey, I was at that game too! It was painful, but hey, I got to see my national team and some of my favorite club players at the same time, so I try to remember the experience and forget the results.

      Also, I was sitting in a group of Spain fans, that was a great atmosphere!

    8. That’s cool you saw that game, i was watching it on tv. I’ve only seen Messi live once, in a pre-season friendly here in the states. He played for literally about five minutes, but obviously i was thrilled regardless. More than anything, I want to walk into the Camp Nou and cheer for my team, preferably in a competitive game. The chants, the feeling of being with a people fully aware of the beauty they are watching, not to mention the team doing what they do. God, that would be amazing!

    9. Hey, I was there. I was the one wearing my son’s Landon Donovan jersey with a Barca scarf. Perhaps you saw me with a stupid looking, awe-struck expression on my face every time Messi got the ball or screaming my fool head of when we equalized in the second half. Conflicted much? Cheering the US out loud and cheering Messi in my heart. Even the die-hard US fans next to us who had heard of Messi in passing before that but never paid much attention to him were on the edge on their seats(although I seem to remember standing almost the whole game because when people stand in front of you…grrrr…), half in fear, half in excited expectation when the little guy got the ball.

      Almost died when he went down with a knock to his head in the first half.

      How long did it take you to thaw out? Hours before I felt my toes again. COLD!

  4. Thanks for this post, Kari, because there was a bunch of nonsense in the other one. Whining about penalties, wanting to sell a vibrant, productive member of the squad just because he has unfortunate luck with injuries (so does Sanchez …. should we sell him, as well?).

    And no, I didn’t watch the match, mostly because it’s difficult for me to care a whole lot about this stuff right now. But the team won, 5-3. Pressure is now on the Liga rival, who will be facing a club looking to make good for its new coach, who fancies playing for a draw against stronger opposition. Could be interesting.

    There are so many points of conversation. Instead, too many people are acting like spoiled cules. As a member of the club said about the Barca futbol base, that could also apply to the whole project, sometimes a team needs to lose. Losing is good for the project. It needs to reset sometimes, to remind the players and their fans that they are NOT invincible.

    The club’s best player scored a hat trick, and his now the leading scorer in Barca history, at age 24. Who gives a crap about handballs, and correct or incorrect calls? Yes, I think it’s bullshit that the club did a recount of the Cesar goals, but that’s another story. Fact of the matter is that there is stuff to celebrate, and this post does so.

    Atop all that you have a player who has become the soul of this club, facing an incredibly difficult fight, and all he can think about is training with the club that he loves, the teammates with whom he feels a familial bond. The club renewed him, knowing what was coming and that the player might never play for the club again. Are you kidding me? In the face of all that, does a blown offside call or penalty given or not matter a whit? Really?

    Celebrate this club and its players. You will never see their like again.

    1. well, i happen to like this post a heck of a lot. not that it’s for me to say. i just wanted to agree since i picked bones above.

      like kxevin says, lets not sweat the small stuff.

      lets all use our mental energy to not complain about handballs, but to cross our fingers, pray, whatever you do, for abidal.

    2. Glad someone said it. I like going to fan sites like TotalBarca because they have a constant flow of posts, but the comments are so often whine sessions about the ref’s calls. Let’s focus on the good (Messi, and a temporary five-point gap) and the stuff that actually matters (Abidal’s health and future with the club).

      And I have to say, for once I was pleased that we didn’t get any penalty calls: I would have hated for Messi to arrive at such a momentous acheivement through a spot-kick. And sure enough, he entered the Barca history books by way of three goals, each exquisite. Something to celebrate indeed.

    3. Yes, I think it’s bullshit that the club did a recount of the Cesar goals, but that’s another story.

      But why? When someone is about to break a longstanding record it is only normal to verify the facts officially. Cesar played in the 40’s and 50’s when stats may not have been as scrupulously kept as today. The last thing the club would want is Messi to go into the record books with an asterisk because there was some doubt about the actual number of goals Cesar scored. Would you still complain if the recount had shown that Cesar had scored 3 more goals instead of less?

    4. I’m glad I’m not the only one ticked off about the recount. Messi’s record will be beyond doubt in a few games when he breaks the original tally, though. I know our penya had a countdown going on. Kinda screwed up the countdown.

    5. Sorry Blitzen, misplaced reply. And I can see your point about verification. Just felt sorry for Cesar’s family…kinda thought the record, like the record holder should have been allowed to rest in peace.

    6. I doubt if his family cares that much. The record was going to be broken anyway. Cesar will always be venerated as a special player in the history of the club.

    7. Cesar’s widow, Emma Revillo, stated, “I’m very happy Messi surpassed my husband because Messi is a very good person, like my husband was.” [rac1]

    8. BS is to assume that just because someone is pointing out the new batch of penalty calls not given he is not “celebrating the club and the players”. That’s a complete non sequitur.

      Yes, Messi scored 3 goals and had a great game. We’re all in owe, as we usually are. But we’ve also ran out of new things to say in praise of him a long time ago and I personally prefer to not say anything when I have nothing new to say. Which is also why you don’t see me talking about Abidal. Do I feel for him? Yes, I do very much, but I don’t have anything to say on the subject with words, so I don’t comment.

      Now, penalty calls get commented because they, once again, went in one direction only. There is something to be said about that, and just because you think it is perfectly OK to play the game with 2 sets of rules applying to different teams, that does not mean others should share that opinion.

      Also, for the record, there was absolutely no point for them to subtract those three goals from Cesar’s record – I haven’t studied the archives myself, I don’t know what the correct count it. But there are obvious reasons to doubt the motivation behind this. They could have very well waited just another two games given the kind of form Messi is in now, it would have made no difference. In the end it came out as taking away from the achievements of one legend of the club for no serious reason whatsoever. So the club, or whoever initiated the revisions, ended up tainting the moment, and ultimately Messi was not able to score 4 goals to make that irrelevant.

  5. Even encomiums have been showered on Leo Messi that the dictionary lacks anything more that wouldn’t be termed cliched or banal.

    But what is less talked about is the sheer endurance of this kid, who has enthralled us all. He is the best footballer on the planet, yes. He is the most skilled, yes. He is the most productive, yes. He is the most competitive, yes. And *he plays the most minutes* in the squad, even more than the keeper. That is more than the icing on a giant cake.

    It is imperative to compare Messi not with his peers in the game, but off it to realise how stupendous he is. There is LeBron James in that favourite “other” game of the Barca players, basketball. He has that transcending talent that Messi has and that extra element that makes him better than the others. But the killer instinct and the ability to be the absolute best when it counts? Not yet, for all his heroics in the past.

    There are three top competitors in tennis – Federer, Nadal and Djokovic; all fierce aesthete athletes who have redefined the male version of the sport. But it is a case of rock, paper, scissors with them, and while Federer for a while showed that he could be the best ever, he found Kryptonite in Nadal who was given the same treatment by Djokovic. But again, this is an individual sport and does not merit direct comparison with football. Yet, Messi seems to tower over them, if only by just.

    From the land where I am, we have had Sachin Tendulkar, a colossus in the other team sport, cricket. He seems to have it all, including endurance. But his star does not shine as bright as Messi’s with Barcelona, because no matter how much records he has broken, there is always one or two questions – choking when it comes to the crunch, and withering when it is the highest of the occasions or the pressure. Not so much with Lionel Messi. Atleast Barca’s Leo Messi.

    Perhaps it is futile to compare across disciplines, because the boundary conditions are different, the metrics are different and so on. But Messi’s utter domination begs the question if there is a better sportsperson in the world today and atleast in this humble opinion, there isn’t.

    1. SRT records are messilike but for the last 6-7 years his play is CR like.i think you got what i have tried to say.

      SRT humility is so messi.admire the man.but no he is not the messi of cricket,apart from bradman,vv richards nobody ever were.i rate lara as the most beautiful and dominating batsman of our era

    2. Lara played one match and then slept for the next three. Sachin has been the mainstay of Indian Cricket for more than two decades, has every achievement there is, generally accepted by the greats as the best there is and was.

      And I think the comparison is the other way round. Messi still has to stay around for 15 years to achieve what Sachin or even someone like Giggs/Maldini accomplished.

      As far as current form is concerned, even EEistas might admit that Messi is the best, despite shouting out “Thong Boy” at first..

    3. Indeed, Messi has to show that he can endure not only 90 minutes of every game, but stay consistent for more than a decade from now in order to equal Giggs/Sachin in that factor.

      But I think Messi’s domination is a bit more of a higher order than Sachin’s. As I mentioned, there still remain a few questions about Sachin’s ability to perform in the clutch – one or two of his performances notwithstanding. In fact VVS Laxman or a Brian Lara were better than him in that regard, not to take anything away from him being among the greatest cricketers ever.

      Messi on the other hand, has shown time and again that he always performs supremely in the pressure cooker situations. I know of very few games, where he had a minimal contribution to the victory of his side and yes, I include the Argentinian national team as well.

    4. Agree with your last point Srini. Messi always thrive in big occassion. One of traits to become best of the best. He make impact when it matters most. People usually call it: Champion performance.

  6. Now this page is a lot better than the previous one…
    I can’t believe some people still talked the negatives after this game, oh dear me…

    Even the non-cules talked about how lucky they are to see this guy plays football…

    Lionel Andres Messi. 234 goals. Barcelona all-time top scorer. 24 years old.

    God, please let me just one time, one time, to see Lionel Messi play the game, live…

  7. I really loved this piece of writing Kari, is so passionate, it really demonstrates how you love this guy, and our club.
    This quote especially rocks:
    “*[in reference to Messi’s nutmeg chip goal against Sevilla where I called her down from upstairs and just pathetically pointed to the screen during the replay]
    Cue the “No, Mom! He did do that great thing but this is another, completely different, greater thing that is just so…great” but then I realized that to some it’s just…meh. ”
    Seeing Messi and Alves (who had two awful mistakes defensively) doing a one two, “paredes”, seeing Messi, Cuenca, Alves, making those assists, this team is the greatest I’ve ever seen in football and in sports in general (I did checked out those games about Bulls vs Utah Jazz, in the 90’s. and only those games could excite me almost the same..) This team, this club, its culture and values, the whole squad, Pep, everything…they’re the best I’ve ever seen, I feel honored to be part of our generation, in a few decades we will say: “We actually saw this team play, and commented along with a whole group of aawesome people, that gave us a lot of articles and a place to share our love for this team”. Thank you all guys..!
    And Messi…

  8. Messi seems to be scoring more ‘chips’ this season, or maybe this year, than at any other point in his career. A couple of seasons ago his trademark was cutting in from the right across the penalty area then shooting to the far right corner. Now barely a game goes by when he does not scoop the ball above the keeper. I remember a couple of seasons ago when he tried that and failed he would get criticized for being wasteful.

    1. I think it was last season, he had a few bad chips against RM and Shakhtar, and others. People berated him for it, yet he just chipped his way into being the all-time topscorer. Funny how thing work out, huh?

    2. Maybe he is changing and harnessing a new weapon every year. Perhaps this season is the year of chipping. Even he do the chip for assisting, remember Abidal goal vs EE. A crispy scoop pass too, for instance 🙂

  9. Messi just keeps on breaking every record. Even redefining records.

    The all-time La Liga record is just 87 goals away- Telmo Zarra with 251. If Messi keeps up this rate of scoring he’s going to break that record at 26 or so.

    The all-time European Cup (and all European competitions) record is just 22 goals away. I say just cos it’s Messi. I wouldn’t be surprised if he scored 3-4 or even more in the remaining games this CL and broke the all-time record at 25 next year. The most UCL top scorer wins are Muller with 4 (non-consecutive). If Messi top scores this year he’ll equal that record too.

    Of course if he scores even one more goal this CL year he’ll break the CL record for most goals in a season (12). If he scores more than two he’ll break the almost fifty year old European Cup record of 14 by Jose Altafini in 62/63.

    And the most goals by any European top-flight player in one season (all competitions) the record is 66 by Ferenc Deak in Hungary (1945/46) and 63 by Dixie Dean for Everton (1927/28). Messi already has 54 goals in 45 games (1.2 goals per game) with a possible 15 games left in the season.

    He’s breaking records at such breakneck speed it’s incredible really, records from 50 years ago and the like.

    Also guys, if we win the CL this year we get to keep the trophy ya know? And get the multiple-winner badge on our shirts. Both those are either for three consecutive wins or five wins total 🙂

    1. Also, now for Paulina Alcantara’s all time (official + unofficial) Barcelona goals record!

    2. All my life I have thought that nobody will ever come close to the Dixie Dean scoring numbers, simply because it is a completely different era, where players can’t score that much (his numbers were by no means unique, there are dozens of players who average more than a goal game for extended periods prior to the 60s and the tightening up of defenses), but here is Messi. Still, Dixie Dean did it in 41 games, not in the 60 games Messi is going to play, but then Messi has been increasing the numbers of goals every season so who knows what happens next year or the after that…

  10. Some words:

    – Good post Kari! I think nearly everyone would run out of words to portray this creature named Lionel Messi. We may ask thesaurus over, too. Messi is purely a gift from dreamland for all football lovers in this entire world. I am echoing the quote from Xavi; everybody who understands football would love to watch Messi regardless of the badge he defends, even the fans of our fiercest rivals. I never like Argentina NT. But with Messi in the squad, I try to spare time to watch their match simply only to witness what another magical show will Messi bring into being. He is now all time top goal scorer in Barcelona record book at only age of 24. If he remains injury-free and could manage a normal life, we would gaze at another 5 years (at minimum) of his progressing fineness and nobody knows when he would stop evolving to get any better and better over time. Congratulation Messi! I am grateful he plays for my team.

    – Granada match re-demonstrate our trait of champ attitude that left a while during the first semester. Remember the 2-2 draw in Anoeta. We led 2-0 by halftime, Sociedad equalize to 2-2 and we failed to score until the final whistle. Last night, they equalize but within minutes we bang another 3 goals to create no escapade for Granada. Content with the win and the three points. The negative repercussion would be a depleted defender for next game against Mallorca. Thanks to suspension of Alves due to impractical handball and poor Adriano get injured again.

    – Next game in Mallorca, I expect one of Muniesa or Montoya would play fullback. If Montoya play, I presume Puyol would be employed as left back. And vice versa if Muniesa play, Puyol would be switched to right back spot. Start with 3-4-3 could be an alternative, too. But I personally want a safe bet with 4 defenders, at this phase.

    – Bold and sensible decision from Pep to rest Iniesta and Busi. We have harsh journey ahead. A vital match every 3 days from now on. A well-managed rotation could keep all players uniformly fresh and have the same synchronized game-rhythm. We require all resources to finish this showdown.

    – The gap is provisionally 5 points now. With a bit of wish, it perhaps could become a reality after match in El Madrigal. Though rationally I think a draw would appear like a manita for Villareal. Hope they could whip at least 1 point to help them get far the relegation and smooth the progress of our chase. GO VILLAREAL!

  11. Enhorabona Leo! You are simply crazy!
    Just thinking, if he finishes the season with 60-something goals and 30-something assists, that will be 100 GOALS! that Leo has directly contributed to!

    100 goals! one man! one season! simply ridiculous.
    Yes he is celebrated world over due to his natural ability to score goals. But yesterday i was watching mouth wide open at the sheer beauty of some of his passes. His passes are right up there with Xavi.

    On another note, what the F is wrong with Adriano? Why can’t the club sort this guy out? Can’t understand why the club let Maxwell go in Jan. We could really use his reliability now.

    1. Adriano is so fragile this season. I even couldnt remember how many times he’s on/off from the injury list. Our physio must be have the answer.

    2. He will need something like 70 goals + 30 assists for that to happen. The 70 goals I can easily imagine, but the 30 assists will be difficult, because none of our forwards seems in good goal scoring form right now other than Tello. He had 18 assists in the Liga last year in 33 games, 9 in 27 games this year, and a lot of those assists last year went to Villa. Now it’s Alexis playing that role but he’s been missing a lot of chances lately, and that’s it pretty much…

  12. As for the inevitable comparisons to past greats across the internet, and the arguments that follow between people saying it would be harder to score in old days with violent defenders who targeted you versus people saying it would be harder nowadays with organized and tactical defenses. I was thinking, why be so subjective? It can surely be looked into in a more scientific way.

    When people talk about defenders being butchers or hard fouling or better organized defenses or fitter teams or stronger tactical training. There’s always a counterargument when you argue that way, but isn’t there an obvious way to look at whether it was easier to score then or now? Just check out the goals scored per game then and now… or much better, compare a top scorers list across leagues between then and now (this filters out the ‘more greater players back then than now’ argument because it looks at all the domestic league top scorers which would normalize in distribution, as opposed to just comparing greats then and now where you can attribute their scoring to higher ability).

    So if an average top scorer across say six major leagues of Europe and South America scored x goals over an era and the average top scorer across the same six leagues score y amount of goals in this era, you can objectively compare how easy it was for the average excellent striker to score. (You could try checking the second or third top scorer across all six leagues to cancel out the effect of individual greats too creating outlier results too, to be even more accurate).

    Then with that as a measure you can compare greats’ scoring records knowing this, instead of arguing baselessly about which of hard fouling and rough defenders (and lenient reffing etc) vs. better tactics and organized defenders (and offside rule etc) made it harder for the targeted dangerman in most sides (if defenders were that violent considering they play all season in games they must win one can assume that those players near top scoring would have received the most attention in their games and thus would have the same factors generally to contend with, with their comparative ability a non-factor due to a very large sample size) to score over an era.

    I haven’t checked the numbers but I am pretty sure that kind of check would show it being harder to score goals in the modern era than it was in the 1960s. And with that we can compare accordingly.

    1. It definitely was easier to score goals back in the days.

      When Dixie Dean scored 60 goals, the goal per game average in England’s First Division was 3.82


      Now it’s 2.8 and that’s actually something of an anomaly, it’s been way too high this year.

      However, there is the counterargument that part of the reason Messi and Ronaldo (because Ronaldo is also scoring absurd amounts of goals) are scoring so many goals is that the gap between the big clubs and the other teams is growing bigger and bigger and we see a lot more of 5-0 scorelines, with a hat-trick for one or the other than we did before. And there’s certainly a grain of truth in this. Madrid are on course to score more than 120 goal this year, while the record for most goal scored by a team in a season is 107. We’re probably going to break it too.

  13. what does enhorabona leo mean?

    messi is ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    sorry couldnt write what would be sufficient to express myself.

    take a bow son,take a bow

    1. Hi nzm,

      am just wondering,do you frequently watch Barca match in camp nou, live?

      am imagining if i live in Barcelona, I would watch all our home games. Just curious.

    2. Hey Chiu

      We go sometimes, but it would be quite expensive to go for every game – even with our Soci 20% discount.

      We used to go more often in the first year that we were in Barcelona (the 08/09 season) but, since then, the ticket prices have rocketed. Where we were once paying Eur42 for a 3rd tier seat for a game against the likes of Villareal/Sociedad/Osasuna, the same seats now go for over Eur55. Seats for games against Sevilla/Valencia etc are about Eur90-100 in the 3rd tier.

      We simply cannot afford to go to every match, unfortunately – especially with the hike in ticket prices!

      This season, we’ve only been once – paying Eur9 per seat for the CdR game against l’Hospitalet, and we also went to the Gamper game against Napoli which was fun.

      The rest of the time, we watch at home on TV, or in Irish pubs when Mom4 comes to town. 😀

      Experiencing Camp Nou is wonderful but, to be honest, the viewing is better on TV because of the close-up camera work, the different camera angles and the replays. There are no big screens showing the replays at the ground. And it doesn’t take us over an hour to get to the stadium, and another hour to get home after the game. 😉

    3. Viewing on TV is convenient, cheap, easy. Food is feet away from you. You are in NOT freezing your butt off. Hafta go to the bathroom? Hit pause. Want to see a replay? They’ll usually show it. VDRs make it that much easier. Then again there are those games when you are fighting with a bad stream/ESPN3. Commentary has its benefits. Feet up on the couch is much more comfy.

      Veiwing on TV at Irish pub with new friends is totally cool. Cava anyone? Appetizer sampler? You can have my olives nzm.
      Viewing with a penya is fun too but not AS special. Something to be said about being in the same bar as other people who can actually pronounce the name on the back of your jersey.

      Viewing at Camp Nou is an experience. You can’t see replays but you can see the movement of the whole team on the whole pitch which is eye opening. You have to feel that your screaming is much more effective in person than when you scream at the TV 😉

      Enjoy the team anyway you can! Enjoy this special time for this special club.

    4. Just your olives, Mom4? What about that guacamole and hummous that you’ve pushed to the side of your plate???? 😀

      Another thing about Camp Nou when you sit there is that it is gigantic – a huge, open-air concrete ring of plastic seats, surrounding a football pitch which is one of the biggest pitches in the game.

      Acoustically, it’s a nightmare – large and open with no roof to hold in the noise. It needs 85,000+ people in it to sustain any crowd atmosphere. If a chant starts at one end of the pitch, it takes some time for it to be heard at the other end, and for the fans there to start singing it. After a few lines, the whole stadium is singing out of synch, so everyone stops because it’s awful! The only time the singing/chanting works is when the stadium is full.

      But yeah – it’s a hell of an experience. The first game we ever saw there was the 6-0 rout of Malaga in March 2009, and we didn’t want to leave the stadium after the match. We sat there in total awe!

    5. Yes, but “felicitats” also means “congratulations.” “Enhorabona” has more of a “well done” type of meaning; you did something to deserve congratulations.

  14. Hi Kari,

    I spent minutes to read your “embarassingly” old post. I ain’t expert too and english is not my mother language too, but just want to say what I personally feel after reading this post and that old post i.e. your writing improve significantly. Everybody in the house give round of applause for Kari, please. 🙂

    1. Three cheers for Kari! 😀

      I really don’t mean to bother you or criticize you, but I have a small correction for your English. You write fine, really, but I’m learning a second language and I always want help on idioms so I have a pointer for you on an English idiom:

      “Mother language” isn’t a phrase that native English speakers use – we would say “native language”, or “first language”, or, the one I think you mean to use, “mother tongue”. Just so you know!

    2. Thanks hansh, the small details like this that we usually don’t know as a non-native. 🙂

  15. Messi’s #1 goal for the Barca 1st team was a left-footed chip over the keeper from the left side of the pitch, and his #233 record-breaking goal was scored in similar style.

    Chipping is nothing new to Messi – he’s just perfecting it as one of his signature shots.

  16. Great post Kari! 🙂 We should thank God every single day that he plays for OUR team and not anyone else.

    I too understand what you mean about seeing him in the flesh. I was lucky enough to catch the Santander game at the Camp in October. It was my first trip to see Barca and it was incredible. Just the sheer joy I felt when I walked up the steps to my Gate and saw the pitch for the first time. I had seen it on TV a thousand times and here it was in all its glory in front of my very eyes, no TV screen between me and it. And of course the first time I saw Messi. I was a kid all over again. It’s HIM you know? THERE! MESSI. RIGHT THERE!!

    I curse myself because I never got the chance to see the man I credit my football obsession to – Ronaldo (Brazilian). And then he got old and retired. Then I cursed myself because I never got to see Ronaldinho. Then he got old and “retired”. I am so glad I haven’t let the same happen with Messi, and will surely go back to see him many more times if money/time/life allows it.

    1. Ronaldhino is playing some mighty fine football with Flamengo right now. He’s made me watch South American football again!

    2. Yes, but flights to South America are quite expensive 🙁 lol

      And there’s a tad small difference of watching Ronnie at the Camp in 05 and Ronnie in Brazil in 2012 🙁

      I watch their games too when they’re on and you’re right he’s got some of his magic back. The speed is of course not the same, but he’s playing with joy again and that’s when he’s best.

  17. Ugh. As a Spaniard, a lifelong soccer fan and fellow Cule, this is the most difficult blog to support because of it’s main moderator/writer (or whatever you want to call him) Kxevin.

    I just don’t get him, I really don’t. It’s like no matter what the heck we do or say, we’re usually wrong and he’s quick to chastise us, like we’re children that need to be scolded. If we’re happy about a win, well he’ll say that it wasn’t deserved and we can’t get our hopes up. If we lose and we’re lamenting what happened, he says that we’re not true Cules because we must always stand behind our team. If Messi scores 5 goals in one game and we’re all enjoying this spectacular feat, he picks on his work rate. Whatever, dude.

    This is his space, his home and I’m just visiting, but hell .. he’s the most unwelcoming, curmudgeon of a host and I am done.

    I’m sure he’ll reply with his usually snarky comment, condescending and hollier than thou attitude but I’m gonna play amateur psychiatrist and say he’s got issues with needing to be in charge of something (this blog) while contradicting the general consensus of most bloggers. He’ll always find a way to turn it around to try to explain just exactly how off the mark we all are. There is just no enjoying this blog with his off the mark comments.

    Okay, so that’s that. It’s been both fun and frustrating. This blog seems to work better without Kxevin’s “debbie downer” attitude and talking down to fans who appear to know as much, if not more than him. Unfortunately, there aren’t many Barca blogs available to discuss our team, but if I want to keep hearing about all of Messi’s negatives .. I’ll go read a Real Madrid Blog.

    Adios y buena suerte. Visca Barca and over and out!

    1. Easily dealt with:

      –This is Isaiah’s blog. I’m another mod, just like Kari, blitzen, Calvin, Euler and SoMa. I happen to spend the most time here of late, though Kari will be right up there as well, because I care about this place.

      –My opinion is no more or less valid than anyone else’s, but deserves the same amount of respect as anyone else’s. And the fact of the matter is that to my view, people are acting like spoiled cules. As Guardiola has said, this team’s level of accomplishment is not normal. We shouldn’t act like it is.

      –I am not a host. Were I in fact a host and this were in fact my blog, the posts would be significantly different, as befits my general worldview as a journalist. I question everything, and look at every aspect of everything. So yes, Messi can score 5 goals. But if he sleepwalks, I’m going to point that out, rather than sliding off my chair in orgasmic glee.

      –This blog is like a newspaper. Just as you don’t agree with every story in a paper, nobody expects you to agree with every post, comment or utterance in this space.

      –“Holier than thou?” Far from it. But we all come to this with our own perspectives and worldviews. As I’ve noted before, they should ALL be respected, yours as much as mine.

      –Whether this is snarky or not is entirely your worldview, but for me, there is no “general consensus of most bloggers.” I don’t even read other blogs regularly, nor do I care what they think. I have my own views, just as you have yours and they have theirs. It’s all opinion. The only fact is the scoreline and objective match statistics. But, just because someone doesn’t say what you want to hear, does NOT make them anything except someone who has a different worldview, right? Note how I can disagree with the content of your comment without turning it into a personal attack? That’s what I mean by different ways. It’s easy to disagree, and still be civil. It’s how this space used to be, when the club was less successful, back in The Offside days.

      –I love this club. I respect what the players do for the club. It is the love of this club that moved me to become a soci, spend time and money going to matches and helping Isaiah initially with this blog. The journalist in me informs what, to many, seems like my being “Debbie Downer.” And if that means that I have to say that people are misguided for wanting to sell Adriano because he gets injured frequently, so be it.

      –I’m going to assume that everyone is here because they love this club. I imagine some are here because they love Messi, just as many who are now gone were here because they loved Ronaldinho. That’s okay. We have to all be able to discuss this club, its players and its goings on in an atmosphere of mutual respect. You don’t have to like it. You should, however, respect it.

    2. In retrospect maybe I came at this too harsh, and although the sentiment is the same, my wording could have been different.

      Let me try to explain this differently. You are not just another poster on this board, IMO, and you aren’t treated like one by the other posters. You are a mod and most importantly your name is on the byline of many of the articles so there is a sense that you know what you’re writing about. You are a journalist who has a way with words plus a very strong opinion.

      All of those are great qualities, except that your opinion is too many times the opposite of what most of the board seem to be experiencing. In a nutshell, if we think it’s bad – you think it’s good. If we think it’s good – you think it’s bad.

      And because you are a mod and you write the articles and because you are a experienced journalist with a strong opinion you single handedly change the entire mood of the board.

      For instance, a very common one is that Barca plays a fantastic game and we’re all discussing it. You write an article where you give Messi a low score where he has 3 goals and assists and all people can now discuss is their disbelief and confusion to such a low scoring. “What’s your rating system?” they ask. “Do you rate all the players on the same scale?” they demand over and over again.

      That’s what’s frustrating to me. It then all becomes about your contrarian opinion because you’re influential. We’re no longer discussing the game, instead we’re discussing your out of the norm experience of events over and over again. Yes, of course, you’re entitled to your opinion but it’s usually so off the mark different than everyone else’s that I personally, can’t understand where you’re coming from and exactly what you’re doing or trying to prove by being the only one that see’s things so differently. And then when we question you, your tone seems to become something like “I am a journalist and I will not change my opinion to agree with the masses! I have integrity!” I’m not asking you to change your opinion or agree with me, you can think what you want, but why the heck is it always contrarian? That’s the question, in my mind?

      I don’t slide off my chair in orgasmic glee for Messi, as a matter of fact, Xavi is my favorite. But, Messi scoring 5 goals is a major feat and I’m not going to take that away from him for “sleep walking” as you claim. It’s not the experience I’m having with Messi, nor is it the experience most people seem to be having. And as a matter of fact, I think your opinion of Messi “sleep walking” has already been rebutted by Daniel who linked an article explaining that Pep and his team has trained Messi to implement this strategy of conserving his energy so that he can play 60+ games a year and amazingly still be talented enough to shatter all records.

      Well, I hope I have explained myself a little better and maybe we have all learned a little something and can adjust our expectations.

    3. Well I was about to post pretty much what Kxevin just said, so I’ll just add my 2 cents:

      –This space is open to a huge range of opinions and discussion. If everyone agreed on everything it would be a pretty boring place. I for one have always valued your thoughts and insights and would love to see you keep posting.

      –Kxevin obviously has very strong opinions, and I can see how his particular forthright style could rub people the wrong way. Many people around here have disagreed strongly with some of his opinions (me included!). But he has always, always been open to respectful debate, has never belittled anyone or refused to listen to an opposing position. He has even (gasp!) changed his mind on the odd occasion. If the tone of his comments annoys you to such an extent, I would recommend you just skip over them, because (and here is the other important thing),

      –There are lots of other reasons to stick around. This is one of the most informative, well-rounded, and entertaining Barcelona-themed blogs around. And it’s fun! Where else are you going to find tactical analysis like Euler’s, or profound silliness like SoMa’s? And you will miss out on my world-famous, fantastic blitzen awards, too! (Coming soon to a blog near you.)

      So take a break if you want to, but I hope you’ll be back. But please leave the amateur psychology at home.

    4. I think you should best ignore someone whom you don’t agree with and look at the better side of this blog. There might be some writers whose opinions are right out of an ivory tower – fans are supposed to whine when their favorite team does not get deserved penalties and refereeing is very inconsistent, it doesn’t make them less informed or less a fan than someone who is a journalist. And by the way, I am one too.

      But as they say, ” let a thousand flowers bloom “. Look at the bright side of this site – the best tactical analysis on offer involving Barcelona by Euler in particular; great metaphorical writing in the form of SoMa, the fan next door with the most effusive love for the club in Kari, and many more.

      The blog deserves more readers and more members in the community; even someone who can sometimes get exasperated with one writer’s opinion. After all, what binds us all is love for the club.

    5. Me too, which is why I was a bit taken aback by his biting (and verging on the insulting) reaction to my questioning the utility of a backup who is not as dependable as we need, despite being a lovable underdog.

    6. Hey justsayin (and everyone else). I was just dropping by here to see what this old community had regarding Messi’s new record, and I saw your post. I just want you to know that you’re not alone in that sentiment. I came to a similar conclusion as you many many months ago, and chose to explore other online communities before I would–at one point surely–respond to this attitude problem with anything less than the levity and respect appropriate to this blog. To be fair, this came at a time when more serious issues than football began to dominate my life, yet once those receded, I never felt the desire to come back.


    7. WTF Jose? what is that your name is linked to? Quite disturbing..idk what to make of it.

      WARNING CLICK On his name at your own risk.

    8. Jose, you’re alive!! I thought you were eaten by the black abyss.

      The link in your name is a bit creepy though. It scared me a bit 80

  18. What’s your take on Messi becoming All Time top scorer in Club Football? He needs another 318 goals to overtake Pele. Very possible considering he is just 24. 10-12 years of football is left in him! But all i wish is Pele is Alive by then to witness if it happens! 🙂

  19. Where did you get the 318 number from? It’s more like 460 goals in official club tournaments. And that’s going to be very difficult to break, you need something like 13 seasons of more than 50 goals to do that.

    The thing with Pele is that he benefited greatly from the congested Brazilian football calendar – he has a lot of seasons of 70-80 games played, and that in years in which he was averaging 1-1.5 goals per game.

  20. OT: So I just finished reading the liveblog from yesterday. That was quite a range of discussions. Eggplants, cricket, med, school and girls??? 🙂

    1. Yeah–it was definitely a weird one–but fun. That’s what happens when Calvin falls asleep and Euler doesn’t come by to keep us in line…

  21. interesting stat:

    timing of messi’s goals:

    1-15 ……………….20
    31-45 ………………41

    hmmm….come through in the clutch much?

    1. You can’t make that argument, this isn’t basketball (and even there that sort of use of stats doesn’t quite work) – it may have been that he scored a lot of goals in the end of games when we were 4-0 up and defenses were tired and demoralized.

      Also, one can argue that the opening goal is the most important to us because it opens the game up.

      It is first goals in the game and goals scored when the game was level that matter here.

  22. Guys, there seems to be some kind of army coup going on in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Spare a thought for Keita, I am sure he is suffering today. Hope all his family are safe.

  23. Kxevins’s posts are awesome..but i too share similar feelings about his strong opinions which are totally opposite to mine..but it’s alright..everyone has their opinions.. just ignore..:D and be Happy..it’s Messi time..:D

    1. Tsk, tsk you shameless man. 🙂

      Great post btw, enjoyed reading it. Surprised that SO many of the fans would be Portuguese. I mean sure they’re far closer in proximity but would have imagined a lot of neutral Albiceleste fans.

      And he does just look like a regular guy doesn’t he? Also, know what you mean about the pitch looking shorter/smaller. I was amazed how much smaller the Camp Nou pitch looks in person than on TV. On TV it looks absolutely massive.

  24. Drama galore in the Valencia-Zaragoza match. A Zaragoza player was redcarded really early. Not long after this, a Zaragoza player plays a handball in their box while jumping for a cross, and Zaragoza is awarded a penalty kick for their own handball. All in the first 30 mins!

    Appalling, train-wreck refereeing.

  25. Can’t help myself but comment on the whole selling Adriano bit – I dont understand it at all. Adriano has proven to be the perfect squad player – call on him in small games and he plays a big role, call him against better sides and he does his job without much fuss. Add in that he is incredibly versatile (didn’t he play in midfield at least once? As well as both fullbacks and wings) and he is a very important part of a squad that chronically has a small first team. And he never complains about his role, what more can you ask for?

    Sure he gets injured often and doesn’t complete many games, but as he is a squad player there is less risk to the team from him getting injured than there would be if he was a definite starter. And honestly, this is the first time this season his injuries have put the team in trouble, and that’s only because Alves is suspended and Abidal is involved in a tremendous personal struggle.

    He reminds me of Keita two seasons ago – under appreciated.

    1. I’m personally a huge fan of Adriano’s. Agreed that he is under appreciated but I also don’t see why. He is technically brilliant, always puts in a good game (or 70 minutes) when he IS out there. Compared to Maxwell, who was useful and also did his job (injury free mind you), Adriano offers far more. While Maxwell could only really trot up the field to receive the ball and make a back pass (always), Adriano offers far more pace, can beat defenders one-on-one, puts in crosses, can even shoot.

      I remember a few games ago (can’t remember against who), he played a brilliant cross field pass along the ground to Messi. It was a pretty sight.

    2. I totally agree. Not to mention the fact that he stepped up brilliantly last season during our crisis in defense.

      Plus, every team should have a funny little orange man.

    3. Selling him is exaggerating but it is worrysome seeing him always getting injured for nothing. Now i understand why Sevilla let him go on the cheap^^

      But yeah having him as Squadplayer is a blessing when he is fit.

      Maxwell lost his paciness because of one or two big Injuries in his Career.Imo these constantly backpasses where the Coaches instructions.

  26. Enjoyed your Article Kari well written piece about an amazing Player:-)

    Like most i am lost for words to describe him anymore! All i can say i’m grateful and enjoying to the fullest to witness such a special barça-era and to watch a player grooming to (perhaps)the best player of all time.

    My take on last night’s game :
    -Those two penalties were both accurate no need to defend Alves sluggish play..
    -Cuenca impressed me once again his dribblings and crossing were top!Always makes me wonder how useful his crossing could have been for Ibra and Henry..
    -Piqué is stepping up his game his passings esspecially his diagonal long balls to Cuenca helped the Team very much. Still lacks the needed Conzentration though but it gets better.

    Overall deserved three point’s and a memorial moment 🙂

  27. You are maybe not a gifted poet, but I literally can feel the passion in your house during Barca matches, Kari!

    I would love to watch a Barca match with you together, one day 🙂

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