Top 5 Best Matches by Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has become the most recognisable star in world football, and deservedly so. His innate ability to dribble, use his magical skills to unbalance rival defences and continued ability to almost single-handedly decide matches have earned him the admiration of millions of football lovers around the world - and the respect of not only teammates, but also opponents. As our friends at La Liga Betting News know well, the best way to improve your odds of winning is having the best player ever in your team.

Always eager to make things happen and desperate to create favourable situations for his team, Messi has played a decisive role that has helped Barcelona conquer an unprecedented 29 collective titles including eight La Liga and four Champions League titles.

Perhaps even more impressively, Messi’s influence continues to grow on a yearly basis. Despite only being four months away from his 31st birthday, the Number 10 is currently having another jaw-dropping season, arguably his best since making his professional debut back in 2004. The diminutive Argentinean star is currently leading La Liga in terms of goals scored, assists, through balls, key passes, successful dribbles, chances created, final third passes and Man of the Match awards - Absolutely extraterrestrial stats others can only dream of.

Now in his 14th season as an integral part of Barcelona’s first team, there have been plenty of memorable matches that will forever remain engraved in the hearts of millions of Cules around the world. Here are five of my personal favourites, in no particular order:

Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid - La Liga 2007

Only 19 years old and having just missed a whole three months due to injury, Messi impressed the world with a hat-trick against the Catalans’ most fierce rivals. 

Estudiantes 1-2 Barcelona - FIFA Club World Cup Final 2009 

Even knowing that helping his club defeat the Argentinean champions was never going to be a popular move back home, Messi delivered yet another performance to remember, rounded with a chested goal to bring the title back to the Camp Nou. Yes, you read that right: His chest. 

Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal - Champions League Quarter-Final 2010

Just another day at the office for Messi: He destroyed Arsene Wenger's hopes of qualification for the next round with not one, not two, not three but four goals which the Gunners will never be capable of putting fully behind them.

Real Madrid 0- 2 Barcelona - Champions League Semi-Final 2011

In a game determined by the ferocious rivalry between Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, Messi stepped up once again to unbalance a tie that would ultimately result in yet another Champions League title making its way to the Camp Nou museum - scoring the most impressive goal of his career to date in the process. 

Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United - Champions League Final 2011 

The Number 10 was the most decisive player in the most commanding Barca performance I have witnessed in my lifetime. He did score the second for Pep Guardiola’s team, but his influence did not stop there, making him a constant nightmare the Reds had simply no answer for. 

There’s no two ways about it: Messi has improved the sport in itself. Although the debate about him being the Greatest Of All Time will not be totally closed until the day he lifts the World Cup for his native Argentina, his influence and impact are far beyond anything Carles Rexach would have ever expected when he got Leo’s dad to sign his best ever Barca contract on a paper napkin in December 2000.

Gracias por tanto, Leo!