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Saint ATN

Poetry in motion, Messi, the other GOAT

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I came late to soccer and to his career. I've seen him play in one of the most epic games ever in the Champions League where they came back from the largest deficit of 4 points and won 6-1. The legends of the game call him an alien, many of the greats just want to touch him and shake his hands to feel for themselves that he is truly a real human. He is that legendary in the beautiful game, there is no doubt like there is with Brees, Messi has ALL the trophies, All the accolades and well deserved, all but one and that one he still has to achieve with his national team.

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This is some of the highlights from last year, we're still being treated to amazing futbol week in and week out, this week, out. International break, LaLiga returns this Saturday. 

PS F.U. Directv for removing BEIN sports. 

PSS TYVM Sling for carrying BEIN and all LaLiga games!

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You know what I really like about those videos? You Messi's teammates just get out of the way while he takes on 3, 4, and 5 opponents on his own! Watch and you'll see his teammates just casually walking toward the goal while he dances around the defenders and scores. Hilarious! and impressive.

Saint ATN likes this

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When you have a teammate who can dribble the way he does thru 5 opponents, they watch in awe too. They just get the up close and personal view and many have spoken of what they see him do and how unbelievable and effortless he can make it look. 

They are also positioned properly, soccer is about where your other teammate is going to be and the players are always moving to be in that positioning. Messi also has elite speed that is hard for the average player to match and even the best get embarrassed by a slight flick of his foot and an acceleration that leaves many wondering what the hell just happened. He was just right there with the ball, and now they're wondering where he went. It's almost comical at times but oodles of fun to watch go down. 

They also have to be aware of not going offsides. Offsides are the most confusing thing to initially learn. Your player basically can NOT be ahead of the opposing team players furthest ahead before a pass is passed to them. Basically, you have to be on this side of the player you're going up against and if the ball is passed ahead of him, you HAVE to race past him to get to it then. If you pass the opposing teams player and are the first one past the linesman you are offsides and the ball goes to the oppositions goalie to start the next series. You lose the ball. So to not lose the ball possession you have to always watch the linesman. The lineman just keeps an eye for when you do such things as in go past the player and then get a pass. Passing has to be done into an area upfield only if one of your teammates is behind the defense of the opposition. Once the pass has occurred then you can run past the defensive person and get the ball etc. The linesman raises his flag up if such an offsides do occur, and it occurs every game. 

So the player you see walking for the most part at times, it's because they officially can't run past any defender if it is passed to them, or unless an offensive person is past the first defender already, if not the linesman flag goes up, ref blows his whistle stopping play, he then ends play and he gives the ball to the other goalies as it goes to the other team. If the linesman arm and flag stay down then it's a clean pass and reception and go offense. The play continues. 

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he said this after Messi did this on Sunday. 

https://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/videos/1109107/highlights-betis-1--barca-4?hootPostID=2a3e7e59f78088895364c9607d6790ef

The opposing fans in their own stadium gave him a standing ovation of appreciation of what they just witnessed after the game. Think about that? That's the equivalent of watching the Saints get shellacked and then the Superdome crowd giving them a standing ovation in appreciation of what they just watched. I don't see that happening in a US stadium for football ever, however, I just watched it happen in Futbol. That takes epic to another level, IMO. 

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, text

 

 

 

 

Oh. My. God. Messi, a hat-trick and a stadium left in suspended animation

The Barça forward was applauded by both sets of fans at Betis – not for scoring three times, but because of how he scored

“Truth is, I don’t remember anything like this,” Lionel Messi said but nor do they and their reaction said more than words, long abandoned as inadequate. There were five minutes left of a perfect performance when he took the shot that transfixed them and then turned them. Not so much hit first time as coaxed, the ball rose softly and curved gently, granting them time to take it in, inviting them to halt everything and watch it orbiting alone, so they did. Only Betis goalkeeper Pau López moved, seeing it float by, just there but just out of reach, everything unfolding like a slow-motion replay from an arty TV director. Only this was live. The ball caressed the bar, landed in the net, and there was a collective intake of breath. And then, instead of a roar, an “oh”.

Oh. My. God.

Aissa Mandi and Marc Bartra held their head in their hands, which is normal for defenders who’ve just conceded but Barcelona centre-back Clément Lenglet did the same, a few metres away. So did Sergi Roberto, watching from further back, both barely able to believe it. López, 6ft 2in, hadn’t even been far off his line, but he had been beaten for a fourth time, three of them by Messi. There was no culpability, just compassion. Maybe even a hint of pride; at least you were beaten like that and by him. López got up and blew his cheeks out, eyes wide: did you see that?!

Oh, they saw. Messi’s team-mates ran towards him. Luis Suárez was laughing: that was just silly. Jordi Alba arrived, hands on head: what did you do?! On the touchline, Betis’s assistant manager Eder Sarabia whispered in the ear of coach Quique Setién, the pair powerless like López, convinced they had just been defeated by the best player in history. “There’s not much you can do against Messi,” Betis striker Loren Morón said. Not much except the only thing that felt right: applaud. As the ball went in, all around the ground, the fans – Betis’s fans – began to clap, 54,172 people on their feet. And as Barcelona’s players celebrated, that gave way to something else: soon, thousands of them were chanting Messi’s name, bowing before him.

Messi raised a hand, then pointed to the sky as he does. “I’m grateful,” he said later.

They were too. Not to have been beaten, but to have been there. At his home, Setién has a signed Messi shirt framed on his wall. “I’ve seen great players do wonderful things but not with the consistency and the ability to decide everything that Messi has. I don’t know if even Pelé had this consistency,” Setien said. “It’s every game, every single one. You feel lucky to have been around at the same time as him; to be able to watch him every Sunday.” Betis’s Mexican midfielder Andrés Guardado has a picture of his son Maximo with Messi at home. He’s also got 20 pictures of himself with Messi on the pitch; the problem, he says, is he hasn’t got the ball in any of them.

This Monday, he probably still hasn’t. Because if this could have been any given Sunday, that consistency eclipsing rather than exaggerating Messi’s ability, this Sunday was particularly absurd even for him. Above the match reports in AS, where Messi was given four stars out of three, there are four squares, four “awards” from each match: the crack, the terrible day, the dandy, and the hard man, each with a 20-word resumé. “I don’t know what to write in this box anymore,” Santi Giménez wrote, “what he did had the Villamarín applauding. Go watch the video.”

There were echoes thereof Pep Guardiola’s advice from the press room, years ago now: “Don’t write about him, don’t try to describe him, just watch him.”

If you’re in Britain, you could. You could watch the whole thing. ITV4 showed Barcelona v Betis live, free to air. If you didn’t watch it, it had better have been a bloody brilliant episode of Midsomer Murders.

This was a great match. Or, as one viewer neatly put it: “This was a match? I thought it was a goal of the month competition”. There were five of them – four for Barcelona, one for Betis  and they were all superb. And if that makes it sound one-sided, it wasn’t: 43% of possession was Barcelona’s lowest in a decade and from the Betis dressing room, one voice claimed he had “never seen” them dominated like they had been by his team in the first half.

Nor was it only about Messi. The player running through from the halfway line while the rest stood back and let him get on with it, the player turning one way then the other, snapping Marc Bartra in two, sending two players crashing into each other, hurdling a third and then slotting it past the goalkeeper while three opponents lay on the floor, was Suárez, not Messi. The player who produced a ludicrous backheel assist reversed through a gap that wasn’t there was Suárez too. Yet it was Messi who scored that and two more, and by the end, it was his name the Villamarín chanted, left with the feeling that if they had taken the game to Barcelona, they could not take it from Messi. It’s a feeling many have, one opposition coach privately insisting: “Messi’s the best player in history every day. Messi is everything for Barcelona. EVERYTHING.”

Messi scored a hat-trick, his 51st. He has now won 333 times in primera, a solitary victory behind Iker Casillas’s all-time record. Jorge Valdano once famously insisted: “Messi is Maradona every day.” And while the national team would suggest that’s not entirely true, while Europe has evaded them for the last four years, domestically it is hard to disagree. Atlético Madrid’s 2-0 defeat at Athletic on Saturday, their season effectively over in four days, left Barcelona 10 points clear with 10 games to go, Ernesto Valverde admitting: “it’s a big step.” If they do win it, it would be Messi’s 10th league title – and increasingly they are his. “This league has just one name on it,” said Sport.

In all three of his goals, not only did Messi score, he also built the move, providing the pass to the player who provided the assist – or in the case of the free-kick, the pass to Arthur who was fouled. He gave the second to Suárez and the third to Rakitic, running to get it back, as if the plan was simple, which sometimes it is: give it to the little bloke wearing 10. There was a fourth move like that too, which ended with him putting the shot against the post in the final minute. If that can be problematic at times – and it is – it’s hard not to be drawn into it.

Mostly, it works. Going back a decade, Messi’s goalscoring totals in the league alone read: 29 (and counting), 34, 37, 26, 43, 28, 46, 50, 31, 34. In all competitions this season he has a total of 39, plus 18 assists, in 37 games. As if what he does can be quantified.

On Sunday night, it could be. And at the same time, it couldn’t, instead brought back to something more primitive, almost childish. Messi wasn’t applauded because he scored three times, but because of how he did it, how often he has done it: he is the first player to score hat-tricks at Betis and Sevilla in the same season.

Messi opened the scoring with a free-kick so good that the commentary on French TV was soon doing the rounds on the net: there was nothing left to say, so they just laughed. Asked afterward which was the hardest goal, Messi just smiled a little shyly and said: “I don’t know.” The first was brilliant, cracking them up; it might also have been the worst Barcelona scored. Setién said the second was like something off the PlayStation and by the time Messi lifted in his third, slowing everything down, an entire stadium held in suspended animation, watching the ball spinning gently through its orbit and into the net, there was nothing left to say and nothing they could do except stand and applaud.

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