FC Barcelona maintained their lead in La Liga as they demolished Rayo Vallecano 5-0 on Saturday. But the night belonged to Lionel Messi as his brace in the game broke several records and marked the 300th and 301st goals of his career.
I’m sure there will be a Messi/300-movie meme made soon saying “This is Barça!!!” Just saying.
Tito Vilanova’s men got off to a bit of a slow start as they couldn’t manage much in the first 10 minutes of the game. Cesc Fabregas nearly gave up a free kick just outside the box, but the referee did not see a foul. Lionel Messi’s first clear shot went high and wide in the 19th minute.
Barcelona struck first in the 20th minute thanks to David Villa. Fabregas sent a sweet through ball past the Rayo defense and el guaje ran towards the middle of the pitch and slid it past goalkeeper Ruben Martinez for the 1-0 lead. Cesc’s assist was his sixth in nine Liga games. Fabregas nearly made it 2-0 in the 30th minute as he had a clear shot inside the box, but a nice stop by Martinez kept Rayo within one.
Rayo Vallecano’s first shot at goal came in the 44th minute as a nice lob pass from Leo Baptistão to Andrija Delibasic lead to a shot saved easily by Victor Valdes to end the first half.
Lionel Messi doubled the lead in the opening minutes of the second half as a fantastic pass from Martin Montoya landed at the feet of King Leo, who slammed his twelfth goal of the season.
Victor Valdes actually had a good game, including a terrific stop on a Javi Fuego shot in the 61st minute.
The scoring got going again in the 79th minute as Jordi Alba found Xavi open inside the box, who put it low and to inside the far post to make it 3-0. Just a minute later, Pedro crossed it into the box and found an open Fabregas who made it 4-0.
Just when we all thought it was over, Lionel Messi decided it was time to get himself a brace as a Cesc chip pass found Messi who outran the Rayo defenders, faked out goalkeeper Ruben, and slipped it in to get “una mantio” for Barcelona.
Messi has now scored 73 goals in all of 2012 for both club and country.
Plain and simple: the Ballon d’Or does not deserve to go to any other player in 2012 than Leo Messi.
Final: Rayo Vallecano 0 – 5 FC Barcelona
Barcelona has won eight of their first nine games in La Liga.
Last time they did this, they won the title.
Let’s break down the players, then we’ll break down Lionel Messi by the numbers in FC Barcelona’s 5-0 destruction of Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
Nearly lost the ball in the 17th minute. VV is always something to worry about whenever he has the ball passed to him. Good save in the 61st minute.
Yellow card for Jordi in the fifth minute. A bad first half for Alba as he gave the ball away a few times. Improved second half including the nice assist to Xavi for the 3-0 lead.
The Rayo forwards challenged the Brazilian as he was playing out of position but didn’t make any major mistakes.
Defended very well as Alex was not afraid to come up and challenge any of the Rayo forwards.
A terrific pass by Martin lead to Messi’s golazo in the second half. This kid along with Jordi Alba and Marc Bartra will cause opponents problems for many years to come.
Marc Bartra gets a "Pass" grade as he came in late for Jordi Alba.
Typical Busi game: great passes and not any issues in the game.
The new capita of the team was for the most part solid throughout the game. Nice goal from Xavi as he took the Jordi Alba pass and knew to put it to the far post.
Nearly got a call against him in the opening minutes as he tripped up a Rayo player almost inside the box. A fantastic assist to David Villa for the opening goal. Cesc’s shot was stopped by Ruben Martinez in the 30th minute. Another terrific assist as he found Messi who made it 5-0.
Cesc Fabregas leads La Liga with seven assists.
Cesc is showing the critics that he’ll be just fine at FC Barcelona.
Jonathan Dos Santos gets an honorary "A" as he made his official debut as a first-squad player. The previous times Dos Santos has played with the first squad he was still a Barcelona B player.
A few misses in the first half, but he turned it around in the second half and had a good game.
El guaje showed good defense as he slid to stop a potential shot during a Rayo corner kick. It’s so great to see Villa get another goal in this comeback season of his. Hopefully, Tito will continue to give him opportunities to start games.
First shot sent wide in the 19th minute.
Great passing in the first half as he tried to set up his teammates.
What a golazo by Leo in the 47th minute as he opened at the top of the box to slam in the Montoya pass into the back of the net. Messi got his brace late as a lovely pass from Cesc found Leo who outran all of Rayo and slipped it past Ruben for the final goal of the night.
Grande Leo! Over 300 goals for his career.
Alexis Sanchez gets a "Pass" grade as he came in as a substitute.
Let’s break down Lionel Messi’s record-making night and 2012 by the numbers—and there’s still two months to go:
Messi has now scored over 300 goals as a footballer in his professional career (301).
Messi scored his 72nd and 73rd goals of 2012 for FC Barcelona and Argentina. Messi is now three away from overtaking Pelé for second place for the most goals scored in a calendar year. Pelé scored 75 in 1958. Messi needs 12 more goals to break the all-time record held by Gerd Muller and his record of 85 goals in 1972.
Ruben Martinez, Rayo’s goalkeeper, became the 86th goalkeeper victimized by Lionel Messi in Leo’s La Liga career.
Who’s the goalkeeper he’s victimized the most in La Liga? It’s former Almeria and current Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves with 11 goals.
Iker Casillas is second with 10 Messi goals scored on Iker.
Messi scored most of his 301 goals in shirt: Blaugrana (210), Blue-white (24), Mint green (15), Yellow (13), Mango (9) (via InfostradaLive).
Breakdown of Messi's 301 goals: 247 left foot - 40 right foot - 12 headers - one body – one hand (via InfostradaLive).
Messi's 301 goals per weekday: Sat (109), Sun (70), Wed (70), Tue (40), Fri (7), Mon (4), Thu (1) (via InfoStradaLive).
Messi's 292 goals for Barcelona: 270 in 343 official matches and 22 in 35 friendly matches.
This marks the 20th time Messi has scored at least two goals in a match in this calendar year.
Messi has scored two or more goals in every game he's scored this season. Incredible!
Messi has now scored 17 goals in 14 official matches in all competitions for Barcelona this season.
With 44 goals in La Liga in 2012, Messi breaks Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most goals in La Liga in a calendar year (43 in 2011).
Messi has now scored 20 goals in the city of Madrid in his career.
Lionel Messi has now entered the top-10 goal scorers in the history of La Liga.
Lionel Messi has scored his 301st goal as professional player: 270 with FC Barcelona and 31 with the Argentine national team.
All of this, and did I mention Lionel Messi is just 25 years old?
Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing the greatest player of all time. Even the biggest Real Madrid fan has to admit it. If they don’t, they are simply lying to themselves because pride and arrogance doesn’t allow them to admit it.
Yes, I do believe Messi is already the greatest of all time.
Yes, I’m biased, but even if I was not a Barcelona fan, I couldn't deny his greatness. No sane person can.
Messi is going down as the greatest because of the goals, the golazos as well, the passes, the free kicks he's now mastered, the great games he’s had, the clutch plays, the number of titles he's won with Barcelona, all the records he’s set and/or broken—everything! The numbers and records don’t lie as well.
For many, he needs to win a World Cup to “officially” be the greatest, and Leo still has at minimum two more opportunities to lead Argentina to a world title (2014 and 2018) if healthy.
Savor every game he plays because we will never witness something or someone like Lionel Andres Messi ever again. Just like so many sports fans still wish Michael Jordan was playing just so they can see the greatest play again, we football fans will wish we could see Lionel Messi play again years after Leo retires.
We are all blessed to be living in this era in football.
The era of Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona’s dominance.
Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona on Bleacher Report.
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