The Argentine became increasingly clear at the top of the Liga goalscorers list with the other two goals in Saturday’s impressive 4-0 win in Granada.
Recent events in the United States suggest 2021 could be as surreal as 2020 but it seems normal parallels could return to League. Together with the real Lionel Messi.
After trying to start the season, after the most traumatic summer of his career, the seven-time winner Pichichi topped the goalscoring charts at Spanish once again.
The two goals in Bilbao on Wednesday night were followed by two against Granada on Saturday night, as third-placed Barcelona advanced with a 4-0 win that leaves them four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid.
Diego Simeone’s side have three games in hand in the Catalan but that doesn’t matter, at least for now. Barca will only be supported by the fact that Messi’s smile has returned.
After struggling to get out of Camp Nou last summer, the captain actually looks happy with his current position. He must be enjoying his football again.
Messi never really left, of course. He remained Barca’s best player even during their worst form.
But he was definitely looking down during the first half of the 2020-21 campaign. He also lacks precision, which is remarkable for a player long known for placing – instead of firing – the ball behind the goal.
There has never been less effort on his part. He still peppered the goal with shots; it’s just that not many of them entered.
Messi relies on penalties to break into the net. But not anymore.
He scored twice at San Mames and repeated the feat at Nuevo Los Carmenes to bring his tally of goals in the League season to 11, which is not bad for a player deemed disinterested in a struggling team.
Barca, however, looked like an impressive unit against Granada, a team that finally found their feet under Ronald Koeman.
It is exciting for the Dutch coach, Antoine Griezmann has one of his best games with Barca.
Deployed alongside Messi and Ousmane Dembele in what was, on paper, a formidable front line, Griezmann opened the scoring with a calm 12-minute finish, after Sergio Busquets’ pass accidentally deflected into its path.
That France The international then latched onto Messi to make it 2-0 before getting his second game midway through the second half, when he fired another frenzied shot after being brought down in the penalty area by Dembele.
If Griezmann leaves late, Barca will truly believe they can overhaul Atletico and second place. Real Madrid at the top of the League standings.
Messi, however, will, as always, be decisive. His state of mind will be key during the second half of the season and he is beaming after scoring his second goal of the match: a clever free-kick into the bottom left corner of the Granada goal, after the hosts defended the right. side of the hand by placing a man behind the wall.
Cynics might suggest that it is no coincidence that the No.10 is reinventing his boots now that he is free to talk to other clubs regarding what is likely to be the biggest contract in football history.
Maybe he already decided his future. Maybe the weight on his shoulders had lifted. Or maybe thanks to an increase in recent results, and an attractive young talent like Pedri, he believes Barcelona finally moving in the right direction again.
Whatever the truth, he’s clearly enjoying his football again, and that’s good news for the Blaugrana.
But bad news for those hoping to reject the fifth Pichichi in a row!