Player Ratings

Lionel Messi: Perfect 10 for Barcelona star on record-equalling night

Lionel Messi was simply magnificent on a night where he made Barcelona history in La Liga against Deportivo Alaves.

Lionel Messi celebrates against Alaves Lionel Messi celebrates against Alaves
 
10:49pm on Saturday 13th February 2021
By
Chris Myson

Lionel Messi made Barcelona history when he took to the field against Alavés in La Liga on Saturday.

The Barca forward made his 505th league appearance against Alavés, equalling the record held by club icon Xavi.

Barcelona v Alaves: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats

Messi marked the occasion in fine style with two magnificent goals and a superb overall display. Let's take a look at how he performed in detail.

📷 Lionel Messi: Match Snapshot

Trincão put Barcelona ahead just before the half-hour mark and Messi thought he had a second when he impressively converted a rebound after Antoine Griezmann saw an effort saved, only for VAR to rule the Frenchman had strayed offside.

⚽ GOAL ⏱️ 45+1' Messi was not to be denied as he latched on to a pass from Sergio Busquets, produced some fine skill to make space for himself as he cut in from the right and unleashed a tremendous left-footed strike in off the post from 25 yards, giving goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco no chance.

Substitute Luis Rioja got a goal back for the visitors, but Messi was then involved in Barca's third. He raced through on goal and was challenged by Pacheco, allowing Trincão to convert the rebound - enough to earn Barca's talisman an assist.

⚽ GOAL ⏱️ 75 Pacheco might have got close to Messi for the third goal, but he was a spectator as the Argentine netted his second, and Barca's fourth. Messi collected possession midway inside the Alavés half, dribbled towards the edge of the area and sent an exquisite shot into the top corner from 20 yards out.

Junior Firpo completed the rout and Messi almost had another assist, setting up Trincão late on, only for his team-mate to be denied by an offside flag.

The 5-1 win ensures Messi and Barca go into the PSG game with their spirits high.

〽️ Messi: Rating Week-on-Week

✔️ IMPROVEMENT

Messi was just everywhere. He had seven shots, five of which were on target - both game-highs.

He made 44 passes into the final third, second only to the impressive Riqui Puig (50).

All of that resulted in a perfect 10 FC Rating for Messi at Camp Nou.

Messi produced a 7.2 FC Rating in Wednesday's Copa del Rey defeat at Sevilla, so this outing represented an enormous improvement.

Aside from the Sevilla game he has been in fine form, with his four outings before the 2-0 loss in Seville - which ended an impressive Barca unbeaten run - all resulting in scores of 7.5 or better for Messi.

🗝️ Key Stats

Lionel Messi
S (C), W (R) - Barcelona - 33 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
90'
10
Feb 13, 2021
90Minutes played
2Goals
1Assists
7Total shots
5Shots on target
44Final third passes
96Touches
4Duels won

Messi: What Next?

It is a huge match up next for Messi, as Barca face PSG at Camp Nou on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

With Messi expected to leave in the summer, the knockout stages likely mark the start of his last attempt to win the trophy with Barca, having last tasted continental glory with the club in 2015.

His friend and former team-mate Neymar will not be playing after being ruled out through injury, but Mauricio Pochettino's side will still represent a formidable test with the likes of Kylian Mbappe involved.

An added plot twist is PSG are one of the sides said to be leading the race to sign Messi when his contract expires.

The 33-year-old could not go into that contest on the back of a better performance than the one he produced here.

After that, league matches against Cadiz, Elche and Sevilla are next on the agenda for Messi.

Barcelona v Alaves: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats

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