Lionel Messi celebrated his 50th goal of the calendar year on Saturday as Barcelona overcame Alaves 4-1 at Camp Nou in La Liga.
And he did it in some style!
Leo #Messi has scored at least 5️⃣0️⃣ goals (club & country) in 9 of the last 10 calendar years!
2012 9️⃣1️⃣ 勞
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 21, 2019
But before all of that, let’s rewind to the start.
It didn’t take the hosts long to get going, having the ball in the net inside the opening ten minutes.
Lionel Messi, who else? And a what a delightful goal it was. However, after a VAR check, it was ruled out for offside. Nonetheless, a wonderful passage of play…
A shame that Messi is offside. First he takes down the high ball on him with the back to the goal side and with the 2nd touch he gets the ball past the keeper. Does it with ease but this was so difficult. #BarcaAlaves
— empinism (@mykesma) December 21, 2019
But, fear not Barça fans!
With 14 minutes on the clock, Ernesto Valverde’s men took the lead through Antoine Griezmann, who fired in a low shot from the edge of the area.
The keeper was rooted to the spot, no chance..
La Blaugrana continued to create chances, with Messi coming the closest to doubling their lead.
However, Arturo Vidal did make it two with almost the last kick of the first half. It was a delightful touch from Messi, who poked the ball towards Luis Suarez. The striker nudged it into the path of Vidal, who ferociously fired into the far corner.
Not bad, that…
Alaves were struggling to really get into the game.
However, on a rare attack at the start of the second half, they managed to pull one back through Pere Pons, who headed home powerfully.
Game back on?
Goal Alaves. 2-1. Bullet header from Pere Pons after an electric move down the wing #BarcaAlaves
— Hamza Siddiqui (@Hamsiddy) December 21, 2019
Barça were rattled and struggled to get going again.
However, when they need him most, one man continues to deliver.
What a goal, Lionel Messi. And it was typical Messi, curling home from outside the area…
Things went from bad to worse for the away side as VAR awarded a penalty for a handball in the area.
Messi at the double?
Nope. The Argentine picked up the ball and handed it to Luis Suarez, who put it down on the spot.
Up he stepped, cool as you like…
In the end, a comfortable win for Valverde and his men, who move three points clear at the top of La Liga.
But, it was once again all about one man.
Following his goal, Messi has now ended 2019 with 50 goals. That means he has scored 50 times or more in a calendar year for club and country in nine of the last ten seasons, and the last six in a row.
The G.O.A.T? We’ll leave that up to you, but what a player…
Barça head into 2020 unbeaten at the Camp Nou and as #LaLiga leaders. Goals from MSG working better together + Vidal. Ninth calendar year for #Messi hitting 50 goals. Pere Pons pulled one back for visitors who have work cut out for them in new year. #BarcaAlaves
— Semra Hunter (@SemraHunter) December 21, 2019
Lionel Messi has reached 50 goals in nine of the last 10 years:
2010 – 60 ✅
2011 – 59 ✅
2012 – 91 ✅
2013 – 45 ⛔
2014 – 58 ✅
2015 – 52 ✅
2016 – 59 ✅
2017 – 54 ✅
2018 – 51 ✅
2019 – 50 ✅
— ɿɒʞɒdudA (@S4D33Q) December 21, 2019
Lionel Messi has scored 50+ goals for club & country in nine of the last ten years. pic.twitter.com/xxlQGSzwNV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 21, 2019
One minute Messi is strolling around the pitch like he’s not interested. The next minute, he pops out of nowhere and scores with a ‘messile’.
— Outerkourse (@outerkourse) December 21, 2019
Barcelona next take on Espanyol on 4th January and will head into the contest full of confidence.