Is Barcelona Relying Too Much on Lionel Messi?

Isaac AsanteCorrespondent IIMarch 24, 2010

Lately, Lionel Messi has been the only man behind Barcelona’s success, and this is indubitable.

Messi ’s form is completely unmatchable. To wit: a goal against Malaga on February 27 to rescue the Catalans from a draw, two more goals the following week against Almeria to grab a point, a hat trick against Valencia preceding two goals against Stuttgart in the Champions League, before another hat trick on the weekend against Zaragoza.

He has scored 11 goals in his last five matches in all competitions, and nine goals in his last four La Liga games.

By that record pace, Messi doesn’t mean to say only that he is the best football player in the world. But does he want prove how amazing he is when the ball is in his control? Most of his goals recently were the results of outstanding individual efforts.

Attributable to this wonderful form, Messi is now the top scorer of La Liga by far with 25 goals (five goals ahead of Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain and 10 ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo), and the most impressive thing is that Messi has averaged a record of more than a goal per match in the Spanish League.

Messi also is the assist leader in La Liga with nine, and it seems his achievements aren’t going to stop flowing very soon.

Anyways, one might ask: How is Messi able to do all this if Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, and especially Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all by his side? Have Barcelona changed their style of play to favor Messi only, or is Messi fighting to get all the rewards?

Well, probably, the answer would be that Messi really wants to shine while his teammates are allowing the positive things to happen to him.

Let’s face the fact… This month, Iniesta and Hernandez have not been at their best, even if they have managed to keep their club on a firm ground through their valuable contributions.

As for Ibrahimovic, it is totally clear that he has been a real flop in front of goal, having not even been able to score more than five goals in his last 18 appearances for the Blaugrana.

Carles Puyol also has been making a few “deadly” mistakes, and as a result, it is not surprising that most of the praises consequently go to Messi, whose work has been the key to most of Barca's recent points and victories.

Now, is it a positive thing that Barcelona rely on Messi that much to survive? Or does it show a big part of the club’s weakness?

For some months now, the Argentine media—accompanied by supporters of the Albicelestes—have been criticizing Messi for not being able to lead the national football team to glory; and most times, Messi’s answer to these critics was that “football wasn’t a one-man game, and that therefore, he needed the help of a few country mates just as it was at the Barcelona football club.”

This makes sense, but finally, isn’t Messi mysteriously showing his ability to push a team to victory all by himself? Isn’t Messi showing his strength to turn games into a one-man show?

Well, somehow he is, and this is what Barcelona fans are happy for. This is also why the world has been even more impressed with his performance lately. But Argentine fans are yet to enjoy such a marvel.

Indeed, Argentine supporters might be angry at Messi, but in one way or another, Barcelona have been able to transform Messi into a “savior;” and with the FIFA World Cup tournament just days away, it will be up to Messi to demonstrate his “new capabilities” to his hungry country so as to gain its favor.

In the meantime, we can only sit down and watch how the “Argentina-Messi” saga unfolds. No matter what Messi's effect is on the future of Barcelona and Argentina, the results will surely be exciting.

Click on Lionel Messi Videos to enjoy wonderful video highlights showing goals scored by Messi this season for FC Barcelona. Get more on my Lionel Messi Blog .