Magisterial Messi

The 2014/15 season was very important in the history of Barcelona Football Club. After the departure of the beloved and brilliant Josep Guardiola (Pep), followed by the tragic loss of Tito Vilanova, Barcelona were struggling to find the right manager. They experimented with Tata Martino, but he was sacked after just one season. In came Luis Enrique. He had the arduous task of bringing back the glory days to the Catalan club. This was challenging because the Barcelona faithful not only demand trophies, but also beautiful soccer.

Fast forward to May 6th, 2015. Barcelona were playing Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. The first leg was being played at the Nou Camp. Their last meeting in the 2012/13 Champions League semi-final was a humiliating affair for the Catalan side. The Bavarians outclassed Barcelona across both legs and recorded the biggest aggregate victory (7:0) in a Champions League semi-final (UEFA Champions League 2012/13). Hence, the stage was set and the stakes very high for Barcelona. This was their shot at redemption, and boy, did they take it.

This was Pep’s first game back at the Nou Camp as a manager of the opposing team. One would have thought that with his tactical brilliance and in-depth knowledge of the Barcelona players, Bayern would have been able to contain Messi. However, the little magician proved once again why he is the best player in the world by scoring two and assisting Neymar for the third. Barcelona’s feared ‘MSN’ (Messi, Suarez, Neymar), led by Messi, were causing all sorts of problems for Bayern’s back three but the ever commanding Neuer kept them in the game. It is no mean feat to hold Barcelona at the Camp, but Bayern seemed to be doing just that until they finally gave in to the brilliance of ‘medicine man’, Lionel Messi, in the 77th minute (UEFA Champions League 2014/15; Ursy). He surprised Neuer with a screamer from outside the 18-yard box. The outstretched giant dived to his left, but in vain; the ball nestled in the bottom right corner of the net. However, this was just the beginning; the moment that would get every footballer wondering if Messi is really human or not was yet to come.

Just three minutes after the first goal, the ever elusive and elegant Sergio Busquets beat three Bayern midfielders with a perfectly weighted pass to Ivan Rakitic who now had acres of space ahead of him. Rakitic controlled the ball with an exquisite first touch and caressed it with the outside of his foot in between two defenders straight into the path of Messi who was now just outside the 18-yard box, 1 vs 1 with Boateng, one of the best defenders in the world at the time. Messi was running towards the goal with Boateng tracking back, trying to contain him. With one deft touch towards Boateng, followed by another equally quick and skillful touch away from him, Messi left Boateng on the ground looking as helpless as a turtle lying on its back. However, he still had Neuer to beat who had come charging off his line to try and stop him. What happened next was impossible to comprehend at first. Messi did the unthinkable; he chipped Neuer and that too with his weaker, right foot. The ball soared above Neuer and into the goal while evading Rafinha’s bold attempt at a bicycle goal line clearance. It was the perfect goal and it got the thunderous reception it deserved from the Barca faithful at the Nou Camp. Messi ran off to celebrate with his teammates while fans across the world were dumbstruck once again by the little man’s brilliance and the Bayern players looked on in despair.

This goal is a testament to Messi’s greatness and to the beauty of soccer. It is a splendid example of how easily he can win games against the biggest and toughest of teams and how he makes even the best players look silly.


Works Cited

Bate, Adam. “Lionel Messi’s Goal against Bayern Munich: Where Does It Rank?” Sky Sports, Sky Sports, 7 May 2015,

ShinjitsuFanSub, director. Lionel Messi Amazing Second Goal ~ Barcelona vs Bayern Munich 2 0 ~ 5 06 2015 Champions League HDYouTube, YouTube, 7 May 2015, “UEFA Champions League 2012/13 – History – Barcelona-Bayern –”, 24 Sept. 2014,, (Accessed on January 31, 2018). “UEFA Champions League 2012/13 – History – Barcelona-Bayern –”, 24 Sept. 2014,, (Accessed on January 31, 2018).

Usry, Rob. “Messi Wins El Clásico, Ray Hudson Goes NUTS.” Barca Blaugranes, Barca Blaugranes, 24 Apr. 2017,, (Accessed on January 31, 2018).