Lionel Messi scored a goal while leading FC Barcelona to a 2-2 tie against Celta de Vigo on Saturday. With his goal, Messi becomes the first player in history to score against every team in La Liga in succession.
Messi started the game as captain. It is only the second time that Leo has started a game as captain of Barcelona.
Celta got the scoring going in the 38th minute. Natxo Insa was at the right place at the right time to scoop up the goal. Once again, the Barcelona defense struggled and was exposed.
Tello tied it up in the 43rd minute after a fabulous pass from Messi to Cristian, who stayed onside and blasted a shot to the far right side of the net for the equalizer.
Messi made history in the 73rd minute when his great through ball to Tello led to Cristian giving it back to Lionel, and Messi slammed it in the back of the net for the lead and for history. Messi becomes the first player in Liga history to score in 19 straight games and score against every team in La Liga in succession.
But just when it looked like Barcelona were on their way to victory, Celta equalized late as Borja Oubiña's header beat Pinto and gave Celta a crucial point for them as they try and get out of the relegation zone.
Final: Celta de Vigo 2-2 FC Barcelona
Let's break down my three takeaways "From The Mind of Xoel" as Barcelona let two points slip out of their grasp at Vigo.
As usual, the FC Barcelona defense was shaky against Celta de Vigo.
Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra were particularly shaky.
Pique nearly gave up a goal in the first half as his whiff and miss of a clearance inside the Barcelona box had to be saved by Pinto.
Both Pique and Marc Bartra were unable to stop Celta’s break that led to the goal. We saw Pique slide and miss, and Bartra was unable to stop the play as well. Bad defending led to the late equalizer by Borja Oubiña.
As much as I like Bartra, both he and Pique demonstrated why this team needs to sign Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund this summer. Bartra needs more playing time, so I will be a bit more lenient on his play. But lately, Pique has been a bit sloppy.
Would this defense have played better if Carles Puyol was not injured? Perhaps. But let’s not pretend that Puyol hasn’t lost some speed. And Javier Mascherano is just as sloppy as Pique has been lately.
If this team is going to defeat PSG in their UEFA Champions League matchup, the defense needs to straighten up and focus. Communicating with your teammate is always important. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem like the back line communicates with each other. Only Puyol seems to do so.
One last thing: Not all the defenders can go forward. Stay back!
Mats Hummels, your services are very much needed at FC Barcelona.
What a game Cristian Tello had against Celta on Saturday.
Tello was huge throughout the game. His speed tortured the Celta defense. From the beginning of the game, you could see Tello was hungry for playing time and for touches on ball.
Tello widens the pitch for Barcelona whenever he is in the game. It's a shame he doesn't get as many starts as he should. But I'm confident Tito Vilanova will use him more during the rest of the season and give him a heavy load of games in 2013-14 if Neymar is not signed this summer.
Speaking of Neymar, with Tello's performance on Saturday, many would say that FC Barcelona doesn't need Neymar. Just look at Cristian's performance.
But as much as I like Tello, Neymar is more talented, has more ball skills, is arguably faster and will eventually be signed by Sandro Rosell.
You can't make the argument that Neymar will be a bust at FC Barcelona. He hasn't even played in Europe yet. Tello is a Masia product and knows the system, so he has an advantage over the Brazilian. We have to wait and see what happens.
But Cristian Tello doesn't need to worry about Neymar.
Tello is signed for years to come, and with David Villa possibly leaving this summer, Tello will see playing time for years to come.
I hope to see Cristian Tello get time on the pitch for Champions League games. His speed and ability to widen the pitch will be needed.
Let's take a look at Lionel Messi's historic run by the numbers:
Messi's record this season (club plus country): 53 official games, 62 goals, 17 assists (via @BarcaStat).
Lionel Messi is the second player in history, after Cristiano Ronaldo, to score against all Liga opponents in a single season.
Lionel Messi in the first player in history to score against all Liga opponents (19) in consecutive games.
Messi scored his 23rd away goal this Liga season, equaling the all-time record of Cristiano Ronaldo from last season. (via @infostradalive)
Messi has now scored 56 goals for Barcelona this season: 43 in La Liga, four in Copa del Rey, seven in CL and two in Spanish Super Cup.
One day, we will tell our grandchildren that we were blessed to witness Lionel Andres Messi play football.
The Greatest of All Time!
FC Barcelona now focuses their attention on Paris, the UEFA Champions League, and Paris Saint-Germain.
Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona.
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