Lionel Messi will receive his sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday. Nobody doubts he's the best player in the world. And possibly, in history. He shows it game to game. For 15 years, he's shown his footballing magic. And guided Barca to titles which, without him, would have been impossible.
Just 24 hours before they give him that sixth golden ball (ending his unjust 'draw' with Cristiano Ronaldo), Messi showed again he's the most decisive player on the planet. At the Wanda Metropolitano. A stadium where he had not yet scored. And in a very complicated game for Barca. Messi emerged majestic, to give Barca the win four minutes from time.
Messi is Barca. A Barca that survives thanks to Ter Stegen's saves and Messi's goals. The keeper and the striker were how they beat Atletico. A game that puts them back top of La Liga and boosts their morale. There was little football, a lot of intensity, little control and a lot of emotion. And in this scenario, Messi was the leader to finish the game with a precise and precious shot.
Barca, despite the green shoots shown against Dortmund, still aren't at the right level. But Saint Ter Stegen and Saint Messi are keeping the team afloat. For now.