- Lionel Messi stole the show on Wednesday.
- The 31-year-old scored an incredible goal and created another, to guarantee FC Barcelona a 2-1 victory over PSV Eindhoven.
- Playing a part in both goals underlined his status as the Champions League’s best player this season, far better than the traditional top player Cristiano Ronaldo.
- But while Messi has excelled, Ronaldo has struggled.
- Read all of Business Insider’s coverage for the 2018-2019 soccer season right here.
Lionel Messi stole headlines on Wednesday when he conjured up two moments of other-worldly magic, one goal and one assist, to guarantee FC Barcelona victory over PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League.
Messi’s form this season in all competitions has been nothing short of scintillating, as he has sufficiently recovered from a fractured arm to bamboozle defences, wow crowds, and leave commentators purring.
And he did just that on Wednesday evening when he scored one and set up another to ensure Barça beat the Dutch 2-1 in Europe’s premier club competition.
Game-winning ability is one thing, but adding unparalleled skill to the equation is quite another.
Barcelona’s first goal was like something out of a FIFA video game, when some young gamer spams the system with an obscene cheat code to produce a show-stopping goal. All it does is make the opponent want to rip the console’s plug out of the socket, throw the controller on the floor in frustration, and leave the room forever.
Messi is that good.
Watch Messi’s incredible goal right here:
Lionel Messi is unreal. What a goal vs PSV! pic.twitter.com/7SfowdLDxp
— Harigovind Thoyakkat (@harithoyakkat) November 29, 2018
Messi showed off extraordinary close control and manipulated what little space he had to powerfully thud the ball into the goal with little backlift in his shot.
The fact that four deft touches left the PSV defenders with no room to block the shot only adds to the Argentine’s greatness in penalty box situations.
But what is perhaps more impressive is that his six goals and one assist from three Champions League outings so far this season mean he is responsible for scoring or creating a goal once for every 37 minutes he has been on the pitch. Nobody in soccer should be that prolific… but Messi is.
He is, by far, the main man in Europe right now – and he is finally dominating his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the competition.
By contrast, Ronaldo has struggled
Ronaldo and the Champions League have been a match made in heaven as the Portuguese striker won three championships in a row during his final three seasons at former club Real Madrid CF.
On top of that, Ronaldo’s mentality in the biggest games on the grandest of stages had recently been superior to Messi’s,as this Business Insider study last season shows.
But Ronaldo’s effectiveness since his transfer to Juventus FC has been waning. The veteran goalscorer, who has tallied 43 goals in his last three European seasons, has scored only once in the current campaign.
Ronaldo, normally so good in Europe, has been limited to one goal or assist for every 149.5 minutes he has been on the pitch.
The balance of power has shifted away from him and back to Messi. As there is little time for Ronaldo to leapfrog his nemesis in Europe, one thing is clear – Ronaldo is no longer the main man in club soccer’s greatest competition… Messi is.
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