Another game, another broken record in the simply unparalleled career of Lionel Messi. His hat trick against Osasuna yesterday put him atop the all-time Barcelona scoring charts at 371, surpassing Paulino Alcántara's 87-year-old mark of 369. It was a vintage display from a player whose game is only encapsulated by stating he can do everything.
The highlight reel above illustrates that completeness. The goals themselves and the couple chances he missed—three of his five shots hit the back of the net—show off the penalty box positioning and finishing that the best poachers in the world envy. He complemented those shooting forays with passing numbers—58 total, including one assist—many midfielders would be proud of, as well as a number of unlocking passes that freed up teammates to make what would become key passes. If soccer counted hockey assists, I bet Messi would emerge as the provider on nearly half of his own goals.
Still, it's his otherworldly dribbling that truly sets him apart from any other player in the world. Watch his second goal, which starts at the 1:20 mark. He receives the ball at the top-left corner of the penalty box and goes to work. Immediately closed down by three defenders, Messi just propagates himself through the clutter and leaves the ball for Iniesta, who flicks it back to him for Messi to hold off another defender before smacking it home.
That one move is everything. He is there and the defenders are there and he is moving and they are ostensibly trying to stop him but he somehow waves right on through. It's unbelievable, incomprehensible, yet is exactly the kind of magic what we've come to expect from Lionel Messi. It's fitting that this one was what put him alone atop Barcelona's goal scoring list.