In what proved to be a shocking but saddening departure, Lionel Messi has left FC Barcelona as a club legend. A player that has totally transformed the game for good and has etched his name in the hearts of all Barca fans forever, the forward has played a significant role in the club’s recent success. He leaves the club after winning 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League titles and six Golden Boot trophies to his name as his glittering club career with the club came to an end this summer. In this article, we look at the 5 most iconic performances by Lionel Messi for Barcelona.
#5 Barcelona 3-2 Real Madrid (La-Liga 2016/17)
A player made for big matches, Lionel Messi loved scoring against all teams but scored his finest goals against arch-rivals, Real Madrid. On 23rd April 2017, Messi turned in one of his best performances against the Los Blancos as he secured Barca a sweet 3-2 victory after scoring the decisive winner in extra-time. It was a victory that gave Barca the chance to win the league, and they did it in the best possible way by beating Real Madrid.
Lionel scored and secured all three points for his side and went onto deliver one of the most iconic football celebrations of all time as he proceeded to take off his jersey and hold it in front of a packed Bernabeu. The goal, the celebration, the scoreline, the stage was set for Lionel and it was a moment that will be remembered for years to come.
#4 Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal (Champions League 2009-10)
Arsenal scored the opening goal of the game and left Camp Nou shocked as they led the game 1-0 in the semi-finals of the Champions League. By then, Messi had already made his name in the star-studded Barca lineup and was regarded as one of the best young talents at the time. Just 3 minutes after Arsenal stunned Barca, Messi came clutch and scored the equalizer for his team in a blink of an eye. He was in no mood for an upset and then went onto score a hat-trick before half-time.
Lionel finished the game before it even began as Barca went into the second half with a two-goal advantage, thanks to Messi. Messi scored his fourth goal of the match at the 88th minute and received a standing ovation from the Barca fans in Camp Nou. His stunning display that evening earned him praise from Arsene Wenger as well, who said that Lionel would go on to become one of the best at history.
#3 Barcelona 3-0 Bayern Munich (Champions League 2014-15)
Messi’s performance versus Bayern in the 2015 Champions League semi-finals will go down as one of the best individual performances by any player in Champions League history. Of all the spectacular moments Lionel has produced for his club in the UCL, none can compare to his display against Bayern. Till the 75th minute, none of the teams was able to find the opener, which led to Messi taking the matter into his own hands.
Lionel unleashed a powerful shot from some distance which went straight into the net without Neuer having any chance to save it. What followed this will be remembered for ages to come. The number 10 left Boateng on the floor with his world-class dribbling skills as he chipped a goal over the goalkeeper. The Argentine also assisted Neymar’s goal in extra time as Barca eased through a 3-0 win.
#2 Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid (La Liga 2006-07)
This match was the game where Lionel Messi truly decided to announce himself to the football as a legend in the making. The prodigy bagged and scored a stunning and legendary hat-trick against Los Blancos to steal points away from them. Real Madrid didn’t know what hit them, they weren’t expecting this from a 19-year-old, no one was.
Messi was gliding past the Real Madrid team like it was nothing, tormented Casillas while leaving the defence baffled as to what had just happened. Scoring three past them, he established his name within just 90 minutes. This game was Messi’s first legendary performance against a top side, the first of many to come.
#1 Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United (Champions League 2010-11)
Even though Lionel scored only one goal that day, his performance against United in the UCL final will be regarded as Messi’s best individual performance ever. He was simply unstoppable that day as he played an integral role in Pep Guardiola’s UCL winning side. With Messi’s energy, Barca put out a dominating performance throughout the game, with Iniesta and Xavi pulling the strings in midfield.
The game was 1-1 at half-time as Pedro opened the scoring for Barca, but Wayne Rooney equalised for the Red Devils in no time. Lionel then stepped up for his side with a spark of excellence and quite literally toyed with the Manchester United defence to produce one of the best individual performances in footballing history, as this performance tops the list of 5 iconic performances by Lionel Messi for Barcelona.