Messi’s Champions League masterpiece

Lionel Messi v Arsenal(Getty Images)

Lionel Messi's four-goal masterpiece in Barcelona's 4-1 mauling of Arsenal on Tuesday was easily one of the most amazing performances in recent memory, the type of game that inspires fans and fellow players around the world. The type of performance that reminds us why we love this game so much.

If Messi wasn't already regarded by most as the world's best player, he certainly provided the loudest of reminders that his magical feet can do things other players can only dream of. From his quick-fire blast to equalize, to his audacious chip, down to his Stanky Leg-like move to break free on his fourth goal, Messi made the ball do his bidding as Arsenal defenders were turned into traffic cones.

As we draw ever closer to this summer's World Cup, and next month's UEFA Champions League final, we find a superstar in Messi to help lead the way toward what should be an unforgettable few months.

In case you missed it, or if you simply want to watch it again, here is Lionel Messi's four-goal masterpiece:

 

What did you think of Messi's performance? Best you've ever seen? Starting think that even Diego Maradona can't stop Messi from leading Argentina to some World Cup glory in South Africa ? Think anybody can stop Barcelona from repeating as Champions League winners?

Share your thoughts below.

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58 Responses to Messi’s Champions League masterpiece

  1. Phil says:

    unbelievable – as i was watching, the feeling started to grow that it was going to be a special day for Messi! Wow – hard to believe Argentina had a tough time qualifying for the WC

  2. OmarVizquel says:

    Xavi and Messi: (arguably) the world’s 2 most influential players both stand — at most — 5’7”. I love the sport for various reasons, but the fact that you don’t need to be 6’8” or 350 lbs to be a dominant professional is near the top.

  3. Mase says:

    No one is going to stop Messi or FC Barcelona this year. I’ve been a lifetime Barca fan and this is the best Barca team I have ever seen. Could be the best of all time when they win the Champions League in Madrid i might add. How sweet it will be in front of Madrid fans…..dream come true…Visca Barca!!

  4. Mark says:

    yea after Bayern Munich take down Manchester United they’re coming for Barca!

  5. SwerveZ says:

    Arsenal made Messi look good. Mistakes ALL over the middle and marking backs on him. Disgraceful D but he’s still good. I just don’t like all the hype because Arsenal seriously played like children who didn’t give a shite that they were even on the field. You could easily see this. I think the only one playing for Arsenal was Cliche, everyone else on that squad was completely complacent. Wenger better check his coaching skills, cause that was awful. Barca NEEDS to worry about Inter. I don’t care if they’re not scoring tons of goals, but they systematically break you down and score when needed. Man U and Bayern won’t be a threat. Are there French teams in this tournament???

  6. irant_irave says:

    I was lov’n the Stanky leg.

  7. Tom says:

    Barcelona last game at home vs Inter : 2-0. Messi didn’t play.(CL group stages earlier).

  8. kofix5 says:

    Barça made Arsenal look like children.
    But then
    thats what they do to everyone.

    Messi=Merlin

  9. jim b says:

    You’re an idiot.

  10. elmatador says:

    Theo who??? Messi el mas grande!!!!

  11. kofix5 says:

    French team Lyon took out Real Madrid

    An intense 2 legged tie both games were incredible.

    Barça v Inter will be a great match too since Eto’o and Mourinho both know Barça very well. Barça will still prevail but it will be an amazing sight.

  12. kimo says:

    Messi is ridiculous; however, you’d think Arsenal would make sure to “rough up” the little man a bit and keep an eye on him at all times. Denilson, as I’ve posted previously, is an absolute waste as a def cent mid. He has no concept of positional awareness nor does he possess any sort of physical prowess. On each of Messi’s goals, Denilson can be seen ball watching and drifting far away from Messi. All Messi needs is a crack of space and once he starts attacking with just a wee bit of momentum…game over. Losing Song hurt much more than people realize (not that it would have altered the final result) as he plays with 100% more intensity than Denilson. Arsenal is in dire need of some physicality down the center of the pitch. In addition, watching Barca’s full 11 work when they didn’t have the ball was refreshing. Some of the Arsenal players need to look under the hood and check their tickers.

  13. DC Josh says:

    He’s the best ever. All he needs to do is win a World Cup and there won’t be any denying who is number 1 all time. He is only 22 years old. It’s amazing.

    He hasn’t hit his prime yet, just think about that. He will get even better.

  14. wildchild says:

    Ives said ‘stanky leg’. that’s just wrong.

  15. DC Josh says:

    oi vey

  16. Justin says:

    3 of those 4 goals were mistakes by Arsenal that any forward should have buried (and a 4th Arsenal blunder should have led to a 5th by Messi). Still a good performance, but not the best I’ve ever seen.

    As to Omar, you should add a 3rd Barca 5’7″ player to that list, Iniesta.

  17. Fire BB says:

    Messi is alright… I guess…

  18. understood says:

    Dear Ives,

    thank you for putting into words what we all witnessed on that fourth goal…i was racking my brain while watching that highlight on repeat tryna describe that stutter step move he put on i think it was diaby to get free on the fourth goal…ronaldino has the elastico…cryuff has the cruyff turn…and messi has the stanky-leg stutter step…he literally invents moves as he goes along to skin his opposition…BRILLIANT!

  19. bryan says:

    Messi made them look like children. Barca just let him do his magic. last year it was Barca, this year, it is Messi.

  20. OmarVizquel says:

    And Argentina almost ended up playing Costa Rica in the WC playoff. Crazy. With the talent they have, they need to sort some things out before June.

  21. BSU SC says:

    I know this sounds insane, but I think Inter will beat Barcelona.

  22. BSU SC says:

    1. That’s assuming Messi stays healthy.

    2. I’m not sure you’re old enough to have seen either of them play, but Messi has a good way to go before reaching the level of Pele or Diego Maradona. The comparisons can start to be made, but Messi is not there yet. He’s the greatest of his generation, but not of all-time (yet).

  23. 123 says:

    Well, Arsenal players are children. That’s what you get when Wenger steals 13-year-olds from their families to his academy and refuses to play anyone older than 20.

  24. ko'd says:

    It does sound insane. But Messi could have an off day (he didn’t have the greatest game in the first leg of the quarterfinals). And, anything can happen when the players step on the field. By the way, I think you’re wrong, but I have seen stranger things happen.

  25. K-Town says:

    I bet when Messi hears music in his head when he is playing. Probably “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta” by the Geto Boys.

  26. K-Town says:

    I hate when people chalk up a great performance to poor defending. Poor defending is moslty a result of great playing, not the other way around.

  27. K-Town says:

    Ummm, I guess people forget, Messi is only 22.

  28. jamesey says:

    I think they have to play a French team first, and if I remember correctly Bordeaux beat Munich in the group stages

  29. BSU SC says:

    It’s just a gut feeling. I think Samuel Eto’o will be the star of this match-up against his former employer.

    I could be wrong though. I had a gut feeling a few nights ago that Butler would beat Duke.

  30. inkedAG says:

    I would have enjoyed Messi’s performance more had it not been against Arsenal. But the man is unbelievable. Insert the best Ray Hudson superlative here!

  31. Bob R. says:

    I’m going to go against the grain here and mostly agree with you. Messi IS the best right now but Arsenal did him a lot of favors. The strike between the defenders was awesome but they completely lost him on the cross on the next goal. He came late into the box with gunner middies JOGGING to recover. They lost him again on the one v one but the chip on the full run was sublime. On the last goal two defenders trying to play him offside let him drift into space between them and then the outside defender made a huge error in playing him ONSIDE. Almunia makes a save and no defender is good enough to get there before he nutmegs the helpless keeper. Best player in the world vs. bad defending = nightmare for Arsenal

  32. kimo says:

    Bob…agreed on Arsenal defending. See my rant below…especially my condemnation of the hapless Denilson.

    However…and a big however, Messi comes from another planet.

  33. war says:

    I wonder how Maradona would try to put Messi, Tevez, Milito, and Higuin on the field at the same time.

  34. reverb says:

    For Messi’s 4th goal, the way he delayed his last shot until Almunia opened his legs, fully expecting Almunia would do that exact thing, and then slotted it right through, was nothing short of sublime. His game mind is literally performing “moments in time” ahead of others. That is Masterclass.

  35. Bill says:

    I like the way he is so instinctive … He’s so quick mentally and physically that he can just invent moves as reactions to what what the defense is doing… I wonder, if you were to ask him, if he’d be able to describe exactly what he did on the last goal (without looking at the replay) or if he can’t really describe it because oftentimes how he reacts on the football field is just second nature

  36. DCD says:

    ^^^DingDingDing! Love it. Although Barry Sanders would like a word with you. . . .

  37. Adam M. says:

    If anyone can, it will be Inter. Inter’s defense features the Brazilian Internationals Lucio, Maicon, and Julio Ceasar and Messi has never had much success against Brazil. Plus, Eto’o is probably the perfect weapon to use on the counterattack against a shaky Barca backline.

  38. japan says:

    I bet my friend $50 that Inter would beat Barca.

  39. understood says:

    that last goal gave me diabetes

  40. Lee from NYC says:

    Agreed.

  41. Tom says:

    lol @ the Stanky Leg. Somebody needs to set his dances to music.

    After he did the Stanky Leg, he segued right into a little something called The Crab.

    Then he played a little croquet and used Almunia as a gate.

  42. Aguinaga says:

    100,000 people bowing down to you. Press box applause. The world singing your praises. Millions and millions in his pocket. Other worldly futbol skill…. and the guy comes off as transparent, down to earth, and interviews as sincerely and humbly as if it wasn’t really him playing out there, it was someone else who would’ve never been there if it wasn’t for the team. THE TEAM.

    Can you imagine CR9′s interviews and demeanor after such a performance? Or Mourinho’s coaching self-assessment post game? This kid’s parents and his father/brother figures at Barca have done just a great job raising him. The sporting skills are a given. But it’s his persona, intelligence, and humility off the field where it counts most that sets him apart, and makes him better already than Maradona ever was.

  43. ThaDeuce says:

    WOW

  44. Second City says:

    While I won’t agree with your assessment that he’s ” already better than Maradona ever was “, I will agree with his unbelievable humility and professionalism.

    In my eyes, those two traits alone, will eventually (at this rate) see him realize his sincere pinnacle of his professional talent and maintain it long enough….to become arguably the best footballer of all-time.

    Everyone on this board is already aware this once in a generation skill, but let’s encourage those of our friends that aren’t as engrossed with the game yet to watch Messi play. Not only will it convert them to footballing fans but witnessing this greatness that’s being displayed is something any sports fan can appreciate.

  45. ThaDeuce says:

    In total agreement

    : )

  46. Champions of England says:

    Lets take it easy with the “he is the best to ever play” comments. He is only 22, and while he is an amazing 22 year old he still has to maintain this amazing run of play. When Cristiano Ronaldo was 22 he had a very similar season, 42 goals in 48 games or something crazy like that.

    All I am saying is lets see how everything plays out. He very well could be the best player to ever play the game, but as of now I would say it’s too early to tell.

  47. Dave from Charlotte says:

    Some will call this sacrilege, but I think Messi is better than George Best in his prime.

  48. kimo says:

    Well said…well said…

    A great ambassador for the game…

  49. Zack Lewis says:

    …and it was played over and over again for the rest of football history.

  50. Mac says:

    Actually, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Maradona all happen to be 169cm tall = 5ft six and one half inch.

  51. BBB says:

    I disagree that he has a good way to go.

    I remember Pele and Maradona in their glory days. If you consider the pace of today’s game, size and agility of today’s defenders, the kid is already there. Granted, its an argument that can’t be won without a time-machine but just watching Messi clown the world’s best day in day out, it’s hard to say he isn’t on par with the legends of the sport already.

  52. Eurosnob says:

    Hopefully this performance by Messi stops all the silly talk about Rooney being the best player in the world.

  53. wally says:

    It’s like the world is moving in slo-mo while he dances between defenders. He’s a formula one car passing buicks on the highway.

    If I were Messi, I would marry Marta and have super babies.

  54. Quakes fan says:

    Messi is amazing, just amazing, his feet are so quick. Look at the lack of even nanosecond delay when he takes his shots.

    That said, you can see where Arsenal’s defense gets out of position and on one or two of those goals(e.g. the chip) Almunia might have done better

    Wayne Rooney is sitting somewhere injured, just frothing and steamed to see this kind of competing quality. I do think these kind of displays further pump everyone up for the World Cup.

  55. alex says:

    Well, it’s all relative.

    I hear the “oh it’s just possession” argument all the time. But guess what, when Barca is crushing you with 70% of it your players are going to get tired. Whoever has the ball keeps the energy, you can’t hide for 90 minutes.

    Eventually someone is going to make some bad mistakes. But that isn’t always a function of them being bad defenders… they’re just being ground to bits by having to chase balls all over the field.

  56. Dominghosa says:

    Messi = utterly ridiculous.

  57. siv says:

    could DEFINITELY happen. Inter is going to put barcelona through the washing machine.

  58. Jerome says:

    Its hard to say he will be the best ever. pele at 17 was already winning World Cups. Plus, pele played in an era with no yellow or red cards. Messi has that advantage. The goals you see Messi score, if this was the pele era, the defenders would have destroyed messi’s legs from behind.