Feb 10, 2014, 10:09 AM EST
Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino has revealed that prior to Lionel Messi’s brace in the Blaugrana’s 4-1 win over Sevilla on Sunday, the Argentine’s pride had been affected by negative criticism over his recent form.
Leading up to last weekend’s contest Messi had played in three matches since returning from a two month layoff with a hamstring issue. During that three game spell Messi scored only once – a penalty in the 3-2 loss to Valencia – triggering widespread criticism of the forward’s form.
“Those that are negative do not realize they are affecting his pride,” Martino said. “When you do that to the best player in the world, this is what happens.”
“This,” as Martino refers to it, was the sensational double that Messi handed Sevilla. Both goals came on brilliant counter attacks in conditions that would’ve had Noah rounding up the animals.
The first came 44 minutes in with the score deadlocked at one apiece. A Marc Bartra tackle at the edge of the box was recovered by right-back Martin Montoya, who fed Xavi, who found a streaking Andres Iniesta. The Spaniard’s diagonal ball was met by Adriano at midfield, who played Alexis Sanchez wide left. The Chilean cut back at the top of the Sevilla box and served up Messi, trailing in the center of the park. With the water-logged pitch a nuisance, Messi brilliantly stabbed the ball into the air before rifling a left-footed volley into the far side-netting.
Without a doubt, it was one of the best team and individual goals in a long time.
The second came in the 55th minute when Sevilla’s Kevin Gameiro was met by a well-timed Gerard Pique slide tackle 10 yards outside the Barcelona box. Iniesta latched on to the ball and quickly found Xavi, who played out to Montoya, who then served up Alex Song in the center of the park. Song split the Sevilla midfield with a pass to Messi inside the center circle, who then fed a breaking Iniesta, who passed back to Messi 25 yards out from goal. As three Sevilla defenders quickly collapsed, Messi settled the ball with his right foot before unleashing a low, left-footed curler into the bottom corner.
Putting a cap on Martino’s musings was Iniesta, who reminded critics of one of Messi’s greatest tricks – the ability to lull opposition into believing he’s not into it: “Leo never goes missing, he is one of the few players in the world that in a few seconds or in a few meters can turn a game. He does it all the time and he did it again against Sevilla.”
Jan 31, 2015, 4:57 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 3:40 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 3:20 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 3:06 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 12:50 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 12:33 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 12:16 PM EST
Sunderland now has four points breathing room from the drop zone, and three points space from Burnley.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:10 PM EST
Walters grabs first career hat trick as R’s still searching for first road point.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:09 PM EST
Losses from QPR, Hull and Leicester keep West Brom three points shy of the drop zone.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:04 PM EST
Toffees put in resolute display to climb clear of danger.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:55 AM EST
The Red Devils ease past Leicester.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:53 AM EST
Liverpool leapfrogs its opponents on the table, moving into 7th with 38 points.
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