Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press
Certain sections of the Spanish press have been running an angle lately that Barcelona star Lionel Messi is struggling for form.
Sergi Font of Marca, for example, had this to say last week:
One of the biggest worries at Can Barça right now is Messi. The Argentine is a shadow of his former self and he has struggled for form since he returned from injury.
He returned from Argentina after the Christmas holidays in great form and looked to be back at his best, scoring four goals against Getafe over both legs of Barça's last sixteen Spanish Cup tie against the Madrid side.
Since then, very little. 'La Pulga' has only scored one league goal so far this year. The goal, against Valencia at the Camp Nou came from the penalty spot and counted for nothing because Barca ended up losing (3-2).
The Argentina captain has a habit of making his critics eat humble pie, however, and in Barcelona's 2-1 win over Manchester City at the Camp Nou, he put in a brilliant shift to prove that concerns over his form are unfounded.
Aside from his dinked goal, Messi was clinical and creative with his passes, making City's big defenders look silly on several occasions by running around them like they weren't even there.