When your teammates are this good, you only need one healthy leg. That said, Lionel Messi wields one lethal left foot, and it only took moments for him to prove it Sunday.
As if he needed to do anything of the sort.
Messi, who scored a world-record 91 goals in 2012, was back in form Sunday as Barcelona beat Real Betis 4-2 at the Camp Nou in a Spanish league match.
Recent results have been disappointing for Barcelona, who crashed out of the UEFA Champions League by a 7-0 aggregate score in the semifinals against Bayern Munich. Messi made sure nothing like that happened Sunday.
Still recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the second leg against Bayern Munich, Messi entered as a 56th-minute substitute against Real Betis. Within 15 minutes, he had scored a brilliant free kick, hit the post with another shot and finished off a beautiful team move for his second goal of the day.
Even by his impossibly high standards, it was a good day.
Messi scores again. 4-2. That was a stupidly good goal. What a move.— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) May 5, 2013
Both goals were top-class, but we're opting for the second as our Set Piece Goal of the Weekend. Andres Iniesta unlocked the defense with a skillful backheel, and Alexis Sanchez showed crafty vision and patience to pick out Messi's late run. Messi's finish was, of course, as cool as we all would expect.
The sequence appears in the video clip above (h/t 101 Great Goals). Messi's first, the free kick, appears in GIF form (h/t @barcastuff) below. Enjoy both, then let us know which one you think was better.
Messi's introduction swung the match in Barcelona's favor. Betis took a second-minute lead through Dorlan Pabon, and after Alexis Sanchez equalized, the visitors went ahead again just before halftime thanks to a Ruben Perez golazo.
Messi nearly completed a hat trick in stoppage time, but his one-on-one shot in the Real Betis box was saved well by Adrian. The two goals raised Messi's total to 46 in Liga BBVA this season, four shy of the all-time record—which Messi himself set only last season.
Think he'll set the record again? We wouldn't bet against him.