Messi is a monster. Only if we unite his football genius with his competitive spirit can we find an explanation for his ability to decide games, and score goals. Against Valencia he scored another double, his 115th in La Liga. A spectacular number for the best player in history. A number that once again, saves Barca when they were up against the ropes. They earned Barca a point when they were on for none.
The draw against Valencia was a painful slip up. Unexpected. And inopportune. Very inopportune. Because it comes in a moment of maximum competitive tension, an immense and frenetic February in which everything is at stake. A draw beaks a run of eight wins in a row in La Liga and generates doubts ahead of the Clasico double-header. An unjust slip up, but one which gives life to their rivals.
Barca had many problems against Valencia. Some, derived from Marcelino’s excellent tactics. Others, from Valverde’s rotations. The coach rested Lenglet, Alba and Arthur, while Busquets was suspended. Too many changes for a top level game.
And Barca paid a high price, especially in defence where Valencia waltzed into a 2-0 lead. The Blaugrana could not repeat the Sevilla remontada and in the end Messi’s double earned them a point. If Atletico win against Betis on Sunday, the title race is back on.