As the end of 2012 draws near—and no Mayan apocalypse in sight!—there's only one real choice for the year's penultimate Set Piece Goal of the Weekend.
With the victory, Barca maintained their nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid. And with this latest goal, Messi finished 2012 with a record 91 goals.
Think about that for a moment. Playing against some of the best competition the world has to offer, Messi averaged a goal every four days in 2012. Or, if you prefer, he bagged 1.75 goals per week or 7.6 per month. Not bad when you factor in Messi's summer break.
Messi's final goal of 2012 was typical of the 25-year-old Argentine. After accepting a pass near the edge of Valladolid's box, Messi weaved through traffic, set up his favored left foot and picked out the far post with a low, accurate shot.
When Messi's on, there's not much any keeper can do to stop him—and he was on his game throughout 2012. This latest goal might not have been as eye-popping as Jaime Valdes' piledriver for Parma against Bologna in Italy's Serie A. Nor was the individual skill as impressive as Filip Duricic's dizzying solo run for Heerenveen against Vitesse Arnhem in Holland's Eredivisie.
But like we said: Messi owned 2012, and his last goal of a remarkable year is an easy choice for our Set Piece Goal of the Weekend. Enjoy, and tell us what you think we'll see from the mini-magician in 2013.