6 April 2010, Claim to Fame: Messi scored big time, he managed to bag four goals that also included a hat-trick, against arch rivals Arsenal!!
Fantastic Messi? Just the utterance of these words will prompt a barrage of protests and banters, as well as statistics that many will term as facts against Messi’s ‘fantastic-ness’. Not denying that there are probably many other football players who are as great or even greater players than Messi. Some say that he’s just a disappointment for his national team, for he has never played as good for them. But let’s not forget football is a team game, an individual should be supported by his team members too. Messi has a number of achievements on his credit, the most recurring one is four goals in a match. This is a feat that has been achieved by many beside Messi. Marco van Basten from Milan, Simone Inzaghi from Lazio, Ruud van Nistelrooy from Manchester United are a few names that come to me straight forward.
But how many of them scored these goals along with a hat-trick in the first half?! Any names that pop into mind? Not in mine, at least when talking about the last decade.
On 6 April 2010, Messi netted a 4–1 home win in Champions League win over rival Arsenal. It’s definitely not a daily occasion for any player to get four goals against a top-class opponent like Arsenal, even more thrilling was the fact that Messi scored a hat-trick in a 22-minute period. If that is not fantastic then I don’t know what is!
These goals also assisted him outdo Rivaldo as Barcelona’s all time maximum scorer in the tournament. Messi has been accused by many to be a tailcoat rider. It is said that he plays excellent for Barcelona because he has player like Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol playing beside him. But it was neither Xavi nor Iniesta or Puyol who scored in that match. It was Messi.
Arsenal scored an early goal in their rival’s home ground, Nou Camp. The crowd was going crazy for their own team to retaliate, and then came the shower of goals afterwards that was the highlight of the game. A slight error on Arsenal’s Mikael Silvestre’s part and Messi was quick enough to take the opportunity to wreak havoc on Arsenal side for the next twenty minutes.
The second goal by Messi was a beautiful move instigated and finished by Messi with two touches to maneuver the ball past a rambling Almunia. Five minutes later he struck again, with a subtle left-foot toss over an abandoned Almunia. This left Barcelona in total power – and Arsenal with stars around their heads at half-time. And last but not least Messi did it all himself in the last two minutes from time when he waved aside a few lame attempts from Emmanuel Eboue and Vermaelen, and finishing his four-goal drag with a low drive once Almunia attempted to obstruct his first shot. GOAL! Barcelona ruled!
Just watching the game was a treat for all football fans without any discrimination, but the Arsenal fans were most assuredly not happy. Their side was vulnerable to a real hammering at the hands of Messi. The build and run were amazing in all goals; even the stony faced security guards were seen cheering for Messi’s goals in some shots. This match was surely one of the best.