You….make the call.
Lionel Messi with one too many calimochos after Barca won the Champion’s League two years ago…..
……or Sergio Ramos dropping the Copa Del Rey and the celebration bus doing a drive-over.
This is a guest post by La Liga expert Donald Wine II. He is the author of the blog “Life In 1-1-8,” which can be found here.
Better than Bird vs. Magic?
If you haven’t been watching La Liga football this season, you are missing probably the greatest battle soccer has seen in years.
I’m not talking about the disastrous El Clásico from the eyes of my beloved Real Madrid against Barcelona. No, I’m talking about the battle for El Pichichi (top goal scorer). The race between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the top goal scorer in La Liga has reached absurd levels, with both on pace to shatter every single season goal scoring league record that exists.
While players like David Villa, Gonzalo Higuaín, Roberto Soldado, Fernando Llorente, Sergio Agüero, and Luis Fabiano have scored plenty of goals for their squads the past couple seasons, Messi and Ronaldo have found themselves once again in a two-horse race for El Pichich.
Last year, Higuaín actually squeaked by Ronaldo for the #2 spot with 27 goals to Ronaldo’s 26, but Messi overtook all by tying the record for most goals scored in a La Liga season, 34, set by the original Ronaldo for Barca back in 1996-1997.
This year, Higuaín was keeping pace with CR7 and Messi until he suffered a back injury that will keep him out of the lineup until February at the earliest. The rest of the pack just hasn’t been able to keep up with the pizzazz, the panache of Ronaldo and Messi.
This season’s El Clásico is just three weeks away on October 10th 2011. It will be televised in the States on ESPN Deportes with coverage beginning at 10:30 AM PT.
In the past 2 years, while Messi has steadily risen from great player to otherworldly status, he arguably saved his best season performance for last season, when CR7 entered La Liga.
Ronaldo, already viewed as an otherworldly player that is on everyone’s short list of best in the world, looked to stake his claim as La Liga’s top player, and despite an ankle injury that kept him out several matches last season and limited him in several others, has really adapted well to the Spanish game.
Anyone can tell that the competition suits both of them, as each goal they score seems to have an “anything you can do, I can do better” air about it. When Messi gets 2 goals in one game, Ronaldo seems to come up with 2 goals. When Ronaldo gets a hat trick, Messi answers with one of his own. With 17 goals apiece through only 16 matches, they are greatly outpacing Messi’s run last year to 34 goals. As every week goes by and the goal totals of the two grow, you can’t help but realize that at this point, it’s not a matter of if, but when the single-season record will fall…and by which player’s lethal strike.
This…just….happened. 4-1 Messi vs. Arsenal today. Why Arsenal went with Silverstre to start instead of drawing Sagna in–with no Ibra to worry about–and putting Eboue (or anyone) on the end, I will never know. That one seemed like a no-brainer.
723 Football Films–man that guy is good–with a compilation with excellent goal calls.
Let’s put this in the perspective for the World Cup. Argentina qualified by juggling line-ups, having zero game plan against basically all teams, getting thrashed by a meager Bolivia squad because they didn’t prepare for altitude and with the Jeremy Roenick of NHL ’94 (Messi) playing somewhere at the other end of a black hole below his abilities.
La Albiceleste can go nowhere but up.
Update: Zlatan starting on bnech after away goal against Suttgart…anyone got an explanation on that one? Did TSG miss an injury?
Champ’s League action again today. Good stuff.
Barcelona v. Stuttgart
• Will Lionel Messi ring up another triple today when Barca need it?
• ….or does Messi make like he is playing for his national team side? Ouch
• Will Stuttgart and striker Cacau knock out the last of the Spanish brigade in the Championship?
• ….or will Stuttgart even score in this one as they haven’t found the back of the net in their past two Bundesliga games….
Bordeaux v. Olympiakos
• Will French nattie Alou Diarra, fresh off a hammy injury, make an impact of even go 90 minutes.
• Will one-time England national hopeful Matt Derbyshire see the pitch for Olympiakos?
• TSG sees favorite and point leader Bordeaux making it through on this one.
Just plant all your commentary below.
Messi, Messi, Messi! Never has that statement been more accurate.
Lionel Messi goes natural hat trick in the 2nd half on Valencia in Barca’s 3-0 win against Los Che.
Touche Wayne Rooney.
It’s Messi, it’s Xavi…and they are already playing some seriously clinical soccer.
For Stuttgart, they counter with 7’8” 370lbs (6’2”, 200lbs) Pavel Pogrebnyak up top also known as “the big Russian.”
It’s already live–throw your comments below–and we’re late so we’ll go to the archives one more time below…
From August 7th….
As you may know TSG’s northern headquarters are in SF. This is from a fan, a true fan, at TSG North:
From Chris in San Francisco.
“I just tried to crash the Barca press conference at the Intercontinental in SF to hang with Henry, Messi et all. Once I made it in the hotel and into the elevator I found my way to the floor hosting the press conference only to be ushered back into the elevator by hotel security. It was a good try, not great, but good. For what it is worth and those of you in SF, practice tomorrow at Kezar either at 9am or 10am.”
Nice work Chris. Do you know where they are partying tonight?
This also gives me the opportunity/excuse to insert one of my favorite “soccer” scenes of this past year.
Lionel Messi dressed up as Papa Smurf being completely hammered at Barcelona’s Champion’s League celebration.
• Quick reminder that Everton are in action at Hull City today. Will Tim Howard continue his iron man streak in goal for Everton? Is Altidore likely to feature? TSG says yes to both. Everton will want to keep their Carling streak alive and unless Craig Fagan gets a surprise start, JZA should take the pitch.
As for the game? Hull’s at home, but Everton finally has it going on. Pick Everton to place in this one.
• Also in action today, Villa takes on Cardiff City at home. Does Brad Guzan finally get some reps? Fulham head northward to Man City–will EJ even feature in the squad on the day?
• No takers yet for El Hadji Diouf in our poll on the right for the most annoying global football player. Why does Diouf deserve at least one vote? How about his latest asinine move: Accusing a Goodison ball boy of throwing bananas at him when Blackburn visited Everton’s home turf Sunday? Diouf’s reputation precedes him, no bananas were found on the pitch, and no one near the episode saw one thrown. This story is just ridiculous.
• Take a look at this slicing run and goal from Barcelona great Lionel Messi in yesterday’s 4-1 putdown of Racing Santander. Either the announcer in the clip is so deflated as the score is already 3-0 for the visitors or he’s seen some other clips and considers this latest Messi masterpiece nothing above ho-hum.