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Thierry Henry Talks Lionel Messi, Ballon D'Or, Barcelona UCL Chances and More

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2016

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts after scoring, left, with his teammates Thierry Henry, from France, center, and Daniel Alves, from Brazil, right, against VfB Stuttgart during a Champions League soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
MANU FERNANDEZ/Associated Press

Former Barcelona forward Thierry Henry has revealed his admiration for Blaugrana superstar Lionel Messi and claimed the Argentinian can score as many goals as other top strikers do in an entire season in just three months.

In an exclusive interview with Barca TV and the club's official website, he said:

All we can do is enjoy what he does. Because what he’s doing is not normal.

[...]

We used to say that a player who got 23-25 goals in a season was an incredible striker. But Messi does that in three months.

On his time at the Camp Nou, Henry added: "We had incredible players in that team, and whenever you didn’t know what to do, you always looked for Messi."

Indeed, as revealed by betting outlet Ladbrokes on Twitter, the forward racks up an absolutely staggering number of goals each year:

Ladbrokes @Ladbrokes

Lionel Messi... 2010: 60 goals 2011: 59 goals 2012: 91 goals 2013: 45 goals 2014: 58 goals 2015: 52 goals https://t.co/rs3KULv9Vt

Most notable of all was 2012, in which he contrived to score a world-record 91 goals for club and country in all competitions. Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez can still scarcely believe it:

Sergi Domínguez @FutbolSergi

On this day in 2012, Messi created history by scoring his 91st goal of that calendar year. 91 goals. 69 games. 1 year. Stupendous.

After recording 52 goals and 26 assists in 2015, the 28-year-old looks likely to add to his collection of four Ballon d'Or awards providing he can edge out team-mate Neymar and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Michael Probst/Associated Press

Henry believes after his incredible year that Messi is the favourite to win once again, though he feels fellow Barca forward Luis Suarez has been unfairly overlooked as one of the final three nominees:

"I think it would be madness if he doesn’t win the Ballon d’Or. He deserves it because the team won another treble. But what I don’t understand is why Suarez isn’t there."

Dominguez also believes the Uruguayan should be present on the podium alongside his team-mates and ahead of Ronaldo:

Sergi Domínguez @FutbolSergi

Suárez not being included in the Ballon d'Or is a representation how he goes unrecognised. The second best player in 2015, after Messi.

Sergi Domínguez @FutbolSergi

And I say it again, how Suárez didn't get nominated for the Ballon d'Or is a farce. MSN should've been on the podium coming January.

Indeed, along with a phenomenal number of goals and assists, Suarez possesses incredible work rate and utilises that to pester and hound defences into giving up the ball.

By contrast, Ronaldo—though still an exceptional front man and goalscorer—has recently had a tendency to put in anonymous performances in many of the games in which he does not score.

Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

With Suarez also playing a key role—alongside Messi and Neymar—in winning five trophies for the Catalan giants in 2015, he can consider himself unfortunate not to be in contention alongside his team-mates when the award is given out.

Finally, Henry gave his take on the UEFA Champions League this season and highlighted Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain as the most dangerous teams, though he is not ruling out the possibility of Barca defending their title:

"In a single game, Bayern can win it. And you have to be careful with PSG, too. You never know what might happen, but I think Barca can win it again."

The Blaugrana have been handed one of the toughest draws in the round of 16 as they face Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Like their fellow English opponents, though, the Gunners have struggled to progress to the later stages of the competition in recent years or trouble more illustrious opposition in the knockout stages, so Barca may well pass their initial test.

Winning the tournament overall is a wholly more difficult prospect, but with Messi, Suarez and Neymar leading the way, it's impossible to rule out Barca once again.

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