Lionel Messi: Only the Genius of Lucky No. 50 Can Lead Barcelona to UCL Final

Manuel TraqueteSenior Analyst IApril 23, 2011

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 23: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Barcelona and CA Osasuna at Camp Nou Stadium on April 23, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won 2-0.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images


This is the only word that can describe Lionel Messi's current season. With the goal scored today, Messi now has 50 goals and 23 assists in only 49 appearances (42 starts).

In the 1950s these would be great numbers. In the XXI century, it's just downright unbelievable.

Most footballers reach their peak at 25-29 years old, but at only 23 years old Messi is already widely regarded as this generation's greatest player and is now having what is certainly the best individual season in modern football history, reaching unimaginable heights as far as goals, assists and consistently sublime level of play are concerned.

It's scary to think just how great Messi will be when he does reach his prime years.

As of right now, Barcelona are nowhere near the level they showed during November and December; most of Barcelona's key players didn't have any rest in the summer because they went all the way with Spain in the World Cup and that is becoming apparent in this crucial final stretch.

Moreover, a wave of injuries hasn't helped at all; right now, all of Barcelona's three first team left-backs are sidelined, which will force Pep Guardiola to improvise against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

But despite the adversities, the team has kept on course and Barcelona are about to become champions of Spain for the third consecutive year and still have their Champions League hopes intact.

It's an understatement to say that Lionel Messi has played a huge role in this. With the team a bit far from their best shape, Lionel Messi will have to step up once again if Barcelona are to eliminate their in-form rivals Real Madrid and reach the Champions League final.

It was, after all, in a match against Real Madrid that the world first saw a glimpse of how great Messi would be. It was on March 2007 that a Messi became the first teenager to score in El Clásico history, and repeated the feat two more times in the same match, completing a historic hat trick.

Regardless of what he does from now on, this is a season for the ages for La Pulga. All Barcelona supporters ask of him is to make one final push and inspire his teammates past Real Madrid and into the Champions League final. If there's anyone who can do it, it's definitely Leo Messi.