Lionel Messi has put Barcelona ahead of Real Madrid in the La Liga title race after scoring 4 goals in his side’s 5-0 win against Eibar on Saturday whilst Real Madrid lost their match against Levante that same day.
Barcelona are now on top of the La Liga table, two points above second-place Real Madrid having jumped Real Madrid after beating Eibar.
Lionel Messi showcased why he walked away with both the balloon d’Or and Laureus Sportsman awards by scoring 4 of Barcelona’s goals in their 5-0 win against Eibar on Saturday.
The win comes at a crucial time for Barcelona who have been through a slurry of internal fighting and change.
Between the public spat between Lionel Messi and Barcelona Technical Secretary Eric Abidal as well as the accusations that club president Josep Maria Bartomeu hired the services of a PR company to raise his online rating by slandering players, all has not been well between players and management.
The troubles the side faced also spilt onto the pitch with ex-manager Ernesto Valverde being fired last month meaning the team has had to adjust to another style of play just as they fight to progress through the crucial stages of both the Champions League Round of 16 and the final games of the La Liga season.
This accompanied by the clubs inability to get crucial signings to replace Luis Suarez and Ousamane Dembele.
These recent setbacks raised serious doubts the minds of many of Barcelona’s ability to emerge triumphant in the two top European competitions with Lionel Messi himself at one point stating:
“the way we are at the moment, I don’t think it’s enough to win the Champions League”
“It’s not easy,”
“We come from playing under Valverde to playing differently now and being asked to do something else. The truth is we are learning and we still have a lot to learn.”
However, his recent achievements both on and off the field, have kept the flame of hope alive for Barcelona with even current manager saying:
“There are things that I agree with and others evidently… I have seen every year how Champions Leagues are won and I think we could have the same chance as other teams,”
“It is true that there is no margin for error and there are things we have to try to improve and do better. We are not happy with everything but I think we are growing little by little and we are reaching levels that will allow us to challenge.”
This will be a crucial week for the Spanish giants as they face Napoli on Tuesday 25 February in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 and then Real Madrid on Sunday 1 March as the to Spanish greats continue tonight it out for the La Liga title.