Lionel Messi: Breaking Down Why the Striker Is Crucial to Barcelona's Success

David A. Cucchiara@@cucch22Correspondent INovember 28, 2012

VALENCIA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 25:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks on during the la Liga match between Levante UD and FC Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on November 25, 2012 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

It’s the smooth, elusive play of Lionel Messi that puts Barcelona at the top of the football world.

Messi has reclaimed his No. 1 spot in the AP Global Soccer Rankings over Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Barcelona preserved their commanding 47-point lead over Bayren Munich, reported the Washington Post—and deservedly so.

Messi has been the catalyst behind Barcelona since he broke into the league in 2004.



The secret behind Messi’s apparent success is his elusiveness and shot accuracy, no doubt, but the affect he has on his team is why Barcelona is as good as they are.

The Argentinean forward has the ability to draw the defense away from his teammates, a significant reason why his teammate Andres Iniesta sits at No. 3 in the AP rankings.

Messi’s soccer IQ is high enough to realize when he’s drawn the defense and when he should distribute the ball to the open man.



A play so key to Barcelona’s aggressive attack, seen first-hand in Sunday’s win over Levante, is the give-and-go, something Messi has mastered.

The give-and-go allows Iniesta to rack up the assists and keep the ball away from the defense.

In Sunday’s win, Messi and Iniesta’s elusiveness and fundamental passing kept the possession in Barcelona’s favor for the majority of the game (82 percent).



Another great bit of Messi’s game is his ability to create shots.

Back in October when Barcelona matched up against Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid, it was truly the battle of the best shot-creators in the world.

Both teams faced the most skilled defenses they’ve seen all season, so coverage was tight.

Messi is one of the only players on Earth with the elusiveness to dribble through Madrid’s defense single-handedly.


Messi is unarguably the best player in the world, and he will continue to make everyone on his team better as the season progresses.