Four-time World Footballer of the Year, Lionel Messi started his La Liga campaign with an impressive brace against Elche. After an eventful season, which included not winning a single major trophy for Barcelona and losing in the World Cup final against Germany, Messi seems determined to remind the footballing world that he is still the best player on the planet.
Even after scoring 41 goals last year, Messi went through what most would call a “subpar” season for the Argentine’s standards. Messi struggled to play consistently last season due to several injuries. His inconsistent play ultimately led him to lose out on what would be his fifth straight Ballon D’or trophy to Real Madrid ace, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Many put the blame on Barca manager at the time, Gerardo Martino, who is now Messi’s coach on the Argentina national team. Martino preferred to play Messi more centrally and higher up on the pitch, which was different to where he played in previous seasons. Regardless of what the true reasoning was for Messi’s poor play last season, one thing for sure is that he’s now ready to lead Barcelona to the top of the footballing world once again.
Messi will have a couple of fresh faces to help him lead Barcelona to redemption this year. Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez was bought during the offseason to add to the offensive talents of Messi and Brazilian sensation Neymar. Ivan Rakitic was brought to the Camp Nou to aid Barca’s midfield which wasn’t able to hold possession last season as they were accustomed to in previous seasons.
With Suarez still serving suspension for his antics at the World Cup and Neymar still trying to get back to to 100 percent, Messi will have to hold much of the offensive responsibility on his back. If the overall season is any similar to the match against Elche, look for Messi to have an historic season for Barcelona.
Asheer Mahbob is a soccer writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @el_especial24.