La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Today marks seven years since Lionel Messi scored his 400th goal for Barcelona against Valencia. The Argentina international notched in a 2-0 victory after Luis Suarez had opened the scoring. And it was achieved at the age of 27, which makes it even more extraordinary – with the forward then marking the feat by getting a special shirt made.
Barcelona went up against Valencia in 2015 hoping to boost their chances of winning the La Liga title.
And they did just that, with goals from Suarez and Messi enough to claim all three points on a nervy afternoon.
Suarez had opened the scoring inside the first minute of the game but Valencia were arguably the better side throughout the showdown, regularly testing Luis Enrique’s team.
Messi, though, made the result safe in the closing stages to send the Nou Camp crowd wild.
And he then posed with a shirt after the game that had ‘Messi 400’ emblazoned on the back to mark the occasion.
Barcelona would go on to win the La Liga title that year.
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And they also claimed Champions League glory, too, beating Juventus 3-1 in the final to make it a second treble in six years.
They’d previously won the lot under Pep Guardiola in 2009, with Messi again playing a starring role.
But Messi hasn’t won Europe’s biggest trophy since, despite continuing to score goals at a truly astonishing rate.
By the time he left Barcelona last summer, Messi had scored a ridiculous 672 goals across all competitions.
And he’d also claimed a stunning 34 trophies, playing under managers from Enrique to Guardiola, Ronald Koeman to Frank Rijkaard, Tito Vilanova to Ernesto Valverde.
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Speaking after Suarez and Messi scored, Enrique labelled it a ‘great result’.
“It’s a great result. I have to congratulate the players because they really gave it their all,” he said.
“The players were drained [from the Champions League last Wednesday], but they still gave a complete performance. Now we’ll make sure we’re ready for Tuesday.
“It was a different game to any we’d played at Camp Nou previously. We had a wonderful start but struggled to deal with [Valencia’s] pressure.
“We began to make mistakes. [Valencia] had many chances and probably deserved more.
“However, victory is only decided by what you’ve done in the 90 minutes, and one of the conditions in the world of football is to be clinical [in front of goal].
“In the second half, we were more comfortable. At first, we made an uncharacteristic number of individual errors, but we raised our performance levels and started to control the game.
“It’s important that we regained control as quickly as we did because normally it’s near-impossible to recover so quickly.
“There are six games left and many points up for grabs, and it’ll be very difficult, but we had to do our homework today and we did it.
“[Having good goalkeepers] is easy when you have a sporting director like [Andoni] Zubizarreta making the signings.”
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