Lionel Messi put World Cup disappointment with Argentina behind him to kick off the new season with a bang, scoring twice in Barcelona’s 3-0 win against Alaves at Camp Nou on Saturday.
The forward’s first goal, Barca’s 6,000th in La Liga (he also scored their 5,000th in 2009) was delivered under the Alaves wall and coach Ernesto Valverde says we’re lucky to be living in the same era as him.
“Messi is a genius,” Valverde said in his postgame news conference. “We’re lucky to be able to see him every day.
“We’re lucky to be involved in football during the era in which he is playing — we want him to pull a rabbit from the hat every day.”
It was the second time this year that Messi has scored by sending the ball under the wall (the first time was against Girona in February) and Valverde expects him to keep on surprising people.
“There’s still room for Messi to surprise us,” he added. “He always surprises you — he never ceases to amaze me, honestly.
“I had no idea where he was going to put that free kick. No one did. It was like the one he scored against Girona last season. It’s not a common free kick but he does it often.
“He also scored a free kick against Alaves last year like his one in the first half tonight, which hit the bar. That was a great effort. You have to be ready to expect anything from Messi because he sees what no one else sees.”