It seems inconceivable to football fans that within 2-3 years we may never see Lionel Messi kick a football again professionally.
The Argentinian might be coming towards the end of a career that mere mortals can only dream about, but that hasn’t stopped him continuing to defy the ravages of time.
Against Valladolid on Saturday, he set another record that may never be beaten.His assist to Arturo Vidal to score the winner in what could be a vital match come the end of the season was his 20th of the campaign.
That in itself is a decent enough stat, but when you add in that he’s also scored 22 goals this season, it means he’s become only the second player in Europe’s top five leagues to do the ’20/20.’
Moreover, he is the first in La Liga history to complete the feat in the Spanish top flight.
To do so at 33 years of age when many might expect the Argentinian’s powers to be on the wane makes the record even more worthy of praise.
We should know by now that nothing is impossible for Barca’s No.10. He has shown time and time again that he can go above and beyond what’s gone before.
The 2012 season when he scored 91 goals for club and country to overtake the previous record held by Gerd Muller.
The 2013 campaign when he became the first player ever to score against every other La Liga team consecutively.
The six Golden Boot awards, the six Ballon d’Or’s, the six Pichichi awards for the top scorer in Spain that he currently shares with Athletic Club’s Telmo Zarra, but which he will beat by the end of this week…
It’s an endless list of feats that are unsurpassed in the modern era. Forget comparing him to other players from different generations and when the variables make such a comparison so subjective.
Ever since he debuted for Barca’s first team, there hasn’t been a player to compare to him as an all-rounder.
Cristiano Ronaldo enters the equation of course, but as a goalscorer. In every other area, even he can’t hold a candle to Messi’s achievements.
Given that the fire still burns deeply, it will be interesting to see how many more records the diminutive Argentinian can break before he hangs up his boots for good.
Then, and only then, will the whole world of football perhaps come together to eulogise on exactly what this special player brought to the game.