Sevilla 2-4 Barcelona: Hattrick hero Messi proves once again that he is the GOAT
Barcelona visited Sevilla on Saturday knowing very well that they had to be extremely efficient to come away with anything from the tie. Valverde started with Ter Stegen in goal, with Alba, Umtiti, Pique and Semedo making up the back four. In the midfield, he opted for Rakitic and Vidal alongside Busquets, while up front, Messi and Coutinho started either side of the misfiring Luis Suarez.
Barcelona's fears were turned to reality early in the game when Jesus Navas opened the scoring from a swift counter-attack after Messi had given away the ball. On the back of their recent woeful run, there was every reason for Barcelona and their fans to be worried. They shouldn't have been, for they had the greatest footballer on the planet in their team. And Sevilla was about to feel his wrath.
The Argentinean looked calm as Sevilla went ahead, but deep inside, he was desperate to rectify the error. And he did so in a spectacular fashion. In the 26th minute, Rakitic sent in a cross from the left and Messi was in a position to unleash his genius.
The Barcelona Skipper curved his body like a pouncing jaguar and with one swing of his left boot, hit an amazing first-time volley. The connection was crisp, the execution flawless. The destination was the top left corner of the Sevilla goal. Barcelona were level, but the game was far from over.
The Catalans failed to shift to a higher gear and Sevilla took advantage of some diabolical defending to go ahead in the 42nd minute through Mercado. The game went into halftime with the score at 2-1 in Sevilla's favour. At the break, Valverde brought on Sergio Roberto in place of Semedo and Dembele in place of Vidal, as Coutinho dropped down to the midfield. However, the spark arrived from a familiar source.
Receiving the ball from Dembele, Messi unleashed a beautiful right-footed volley from outside the box in the 67th minute. There was nothing Vaclik in Sevilla goal could do about it, because the shot was designed to float into the top right corner this time, far from the grasps of the average human being. Messi refused to surrender and his zeal had drawn his team level.
Yet the beauty of the very best is that they are never satisfied with anything other than perfection. To Barcelona, the win was the perfection they desired, to their Skipper, it was a hattrick. And the moment arrived in the 85th minute.
Like a true No. 10, Messi drifted into the box, drawn in by the scent of a goal. And expectantly, he found himself clear on goal after a shot from the substitute Alena deflected in his path. Within a flash, Vaclik was off his goal, shutting down the door as a man possessed. Unfortunately, on days like this, no man is equal to the genius of Lionel Messi.
In the split second that he stole in the box, the Argentinean chipped the ball over the onrushing goalie. A hattrick for the greatest ever - his 32nd in La Liga - and finally, Barcelona were sensing the aroma of victory. If there were any doubts of a comeback from Sevilla, Messi squashed those in the 93rd minute, when he gloriously set up Suarez to score Barcelona's 4th of the game.
As such, Barcelona continue to cruise at the top of the table, but this was a win orchestrated by the brilliance of Lionel Messi. By scoring his 3rd hattrick of this season and his 33rd goal of the season, the Argentinean showed us why the whole world worships him as the Greatest Of All Times.