The latest news coming from Barcelona is that Lionel Messi has played his last game for the Catalan giants. Barcelona fans around the world will be sad to see the greatest player to pull on the famous blue and red shirt leave the club. However, they and football fans will have many memories of the Argentine maestro during his time in Spain. Here is a look back at just five of Lionel Messi’s greatest games for Barcelona.
Lionel Messi’s Greatest Games in a Barcelona Shirt
Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid (March 10, 2007)
As it had been the case many times, both Spanish giants were locked in a battle to become league champions. Both had also been knocked out of Europe so the title was the prize they both desperately wanted. This was the biggest Classico’s in recent memory and it did not disappoint and neither did teenager Lionel Messi.
Real Madrid led three times in this game but on each occasion, Messi would hit back. In an almost one-man show, Messi produced a stunning performance to keep his team in the title race. The 19-year-old would not let rivals Madrid beat his team.
Into injury time Real were leading 3-2 but struggling to stop Barcelona’s teenage sensation. Desperately trying to hang on, Madrid found themselves facing Messi on a run towards goal. No one could stop him and he finished brilliantly to complete his first hat-trick. It was early days, but this would go down as one of Messi’s greatest games. Barcelona, Argentina and world football had found their next superstar.
Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal (April 6, 2010)
Lionel Messi delighted all those in attendance at the Camp Nou and those watching around the world with a stunning four-goal haul to progress in the Champions League. Following a 2-2 draw in the first leg, Arsenal took the lead in Spain to stun fans inside the ground. However, Barca fans needn’t have worried.
Within two minutes of Arsenal’s goal, the home side were level. From this moment on, Barca with the magical Messi in stunning form, there was only going to be one winner. A 21-minute hat-trick from the Catalans superstar gave them a 3-1 halftime lead.
Late in the second half, Messi completed the rout in typical fashion, going on a mazy run and firing low past the hapless keeper. Arsenal had no answer to Messi in this kind of form and there was no shame in that.
Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United (May 28, 2011)
A Lionel Messi masterclass helped Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley to win the Champions League. Barca outplayed United for long periods with Messi orchestrating the majority of attacks. However, at halftime, the scores were level at 1-1.
After the interval, Messi and his teammates upped the tempo with anything that United manager Alex Ferguson had said at halftime proving fruitless. Barcelona were the best footballing team in the world at the time and it showed. Messi scored his 53rd goal of the season in the 53rd minute with a rocket of a shot from 20 years and he was also carving United open at will.
United were no match for their opponents and could only admire Messi has he turned architect in the 70th minute to set up his side’s third goal and clinch the victory.
After the game, a delighted Pep Guardiola said: “Lionel is the best player I have ever seen, probably the best player I will see,” the Barça coach said. “He is unique, a one-off.”
Barcelona 4-0 Espanyol (May 5, 2012)
In Pep Guardiola’s last game in charge at the Camp Nou, Lionel Messi gave him the perfect send-off. Guardiola would face local rivals Espanyol in his final home game; however, one man would make sure that there would be no derby upset. Messi and his manager had had a close relationship at the club with the latter helping to make the Argentina forward the best player in the world.
Messi took his season tally to an incredible 72 goals in all competitions as he scored all four goals against Barca’s cross-town rivals. Two penalties, a free-kick and a left-foot strike saw off Espanyol as the Catalan magician ran riot to give his manager the perfect ending to a great era in Barcelona’s history.
Barcelona 4-0 Manchester City (October 19, 2016)
If Messi was the architect of Pep Guardiola’s final home win as Barca manager, he was also the architect of this demolition on his former bosses return. Messi was ruthless as he capitalised on any mistake that the Manchester City team made.
Messi took advantage of a slip in the box by a City defender to score his first. City again lost possession allowing Messi to be played in and he made no mistake to double the lead and his tally for the night. A third came soon after to complete his hattrick and then unselfishly became supplier as he put Neymar through on goal to score Barcelona’s fourth of the night. Messi also won his team a penalty but Neymar’s strike was saved. It didn’t matter as the damage from the world’s greatest and Barcelona’s greatest ever player had been done.