Though football fans around the world don’t need any proof to believe the greatness of Messi, the Argentine, with his outrageous assist to Dembele against Chelsea, showcased yet again why he is the greatest ever.
It was a simple counter-attack from FC Barcelona. Simple but lethal. Cesc Fabregas had lost the ball at the halfway line to Messi. Chelsea, with two players ahead of Messi, might have felt a decent chance to stop the Argentine. However, the greatest player that the world has ever seen had other ideas.
After protecting himself, and the ball, from Christensen, Messi easily got the better of Azpilicueta to get through on goal. Feeling hapless, the Chelsea defenders ran back as if their lives depended on stopping Messi from scoring his 2nd of the game.
Once again, for the second time in few seconds, the Argentine had other ideas.
Stopping dead at the edge of Chelsea’s final third, Messi looked up. Nobody was sure what he wanted to do. Suarez was ahead of him but the Uruguayan was surrounded by Chelsea players, so the chances of a successful pass were minimal.
Messi could have tried his luck himself. However, being Messi, he did something what Messi always does: something that befuddles the mind and no one sees coming.
As he held his head up, Messi saw something that nobody else in the stadium did: Ousmane Dembele was standing alone, waiting for the pass. The Frenchman had ran the full length of the pitch to get that pass, and Messi was not going to disappoint his new Barcelona teammate.
With the nonchalance that we have come to see from the Argentine on numerous occasions in the past, he passed the ball to Dembele, who, to his credit, coolly slotted the ball home to assure Barcelona’s place in the quarterfinals of this Champions League.
It would be a stretch to say that this is the first time that Barcelona has scored this kind of goal. After all, they are a team which has won three Champions League titles in the last decade. Still, even for a team like them – and even for a player of Messi’s caliber – the goal was out of this world, super-human, to be honest.
Still, it would be a disservice to just applaud Messi’s genius for the goal, as Suarez’s hard work needs to be celebrated as well. For, even though he knew that he wouldn’t get the pass from Messi – as the Uruguayan was surrounded by Chelsea players, Suarez made the run.
And in doing so, he forced a couple of Chelsea players to do the same, lest they allowed Suarez through on goal and waiting for a tap-in.
That run by the Uruguayan was enough to create space for Messi which he exploited to create a simple chance for Dembele who slammed the ball past Courtois and into the Chelsea net to complete the attack.
That is how, in simple words, Barcelona and Messi did what we already knew they are capable of doing: the unthinkable.