Barcelona were flattered slightly by the 5-0 scoreline as they dispatched Eibar on Saturday afternoon, a Lionel Messi masterclass the difference between the two sides.
The Argentine opened the scoring for Barcelona in sensational style inside 15 minutes, nutmegging one defender and beating multiple others before dinking the ball over the goalkeeper’s head.
Messi then doubled his side’s lead with another mazy run and finish, drilling the ball into the far corner. He wasn’t done there though, completing a stunning first-half hat-trick thanks to some poor Eibar defending and a ricochet after Antoine Griezmann should have scored.
The second half was an extremely tepid affair, with Barça looking lacklustre and constantly giving away the ball. However, Messi grabbed his fourth goal of the game with five minutes to go after good work from new signing Martin Braithwaite, before midfielder Arthur put the exclamation point on a 5-0 win.
Key Talking Point
The Catalan side started the day just one point behind rivals and table-toppers Real Madrid, and needed to put down a marker ahead of next weekend’s Clasico.
They did that to an extent, and a lot of it was down to Messi – as it pretty much always is. It sounds odd to say as they won 5-0, but Barcelona as a side weren’t that convincing, with Griezmann and Ivan Rakitic playing really poorly.
Despite that, they have Messi. Even though they’re probably not as good a side as Real Madrid are, with Messi they always have a chance.
Barcelona Player Ratings
Starting XI: Ter Stegen (6); Semedo (6), Pique (6), Lenglet (6), Firpo (6); Busquets (5), Rakitic (5), Vidal (7), Arthur (7); Messi (10*), Griezmann (5).
Substitutes: De Jong (6), Umtiti (6), Braithwaite (7).
This doesn’t require much thought does it? The mesmeric Argentine had actually gone four games without a goal in La Liga before Saturday, and seemed to take out all his goalscoring frustrations on Eibar.
Messi’s two goals today have been world class, sorry Messi class.
Not Tap ins, not last minute undeserved Penalties, non of that mediocre stuff.
Just pure football exhibition that only Messi can deliver.
— Edmund (@EdmundOris) February 22, 2020
No matter what, no matter how much chaos and malcontent threatens to destroy this club, Barcelona will always challenge for trophies as long as they have Lionel Messi.
Greatest footballer of all time for a reason.
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) February 22, 2020
MESSI ENDING A SO-CALLED “DROUGHT” WITH A HAT-TRICK
— TalkFCB (@FCBNewsRoom) February 22, 2020
This has probably been said a million times by now, but there really are no more superlatives to describe the man. Every goal he scores seems to be jaw-dropping, and he even makes the simplest finishes look incredible.
Eibar Player Ratings
Starting XI: Dmitrovic (6); Tejero (5), Burgos (5), Arbilla (5), Angel (4); Diop (7*), Exposito (6); Orellano (5), Escalante (5), Inui (6), Enrich (5).
Substitutes: De Blasis (6), Casin (6), Cristoforo (N/A).
Eibar, on the other hand, have a week off before they look to bounce back against Levante in La Liga next Saturday.