The 32-year-old Argentinian won his record sixth Ballon d’Or to further cement himself as a legend and possibly the greatest player in the history of the sport. This saw him pip Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk to the title by just seven points, with the likes of Ronaldo and Mane in behind.
— #BallondOr (@francefootball) December 2, 2019
It was a remarkable 2018/19 season for Messi, as he continued to outperform the rest. He scored 36 goals in 34 La Liga matches, which also helped the side to their 26th top-flight title and second in succession.
Messi also added a further 12 goals in 10 Champions League appearances before they were knocked out of the competition by Liverpool in the semi-finals. This meant he scored 56 goals in 60 appearances in total for club and country, which is unrivaled and why he ultimately picked up the trophy recently.
Messi will now be looking to lead Barcelona to another La Liga title this season, and they remain the strong favorites to do so. They are sitting at the top of the table with Real Madrid, but it remains a close battle at the top, with just seven points separating the top six sides.
These include Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Getafe CF, and Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid is set to pose the biggest threat, as they continue to improve again this season following the investment in the squad.
However, what Barcelona and Messi will want the most is another Champions League title. The club is five-time winners of the competition, but have not won since back in 2015. This saw them beat Juventus 3-1 in the final in Turkey.
Since then, they have come agonizingly close to winning the competition and none more so than last season. They progressed through with ease to the semi-finals against Liverpool, with high expectations of picking up another title.
The first leg was at the Camp Nou, and Barcelona put in a stunning performance to take a 3-0 lead into the second leg. This included a second-half brace from Lionel Messi and a breath-taking free-kick. It appeared they would be heading through to the final and a tilt at a sixth victory in the competition.
At the time, they were also very short-priced favorites in the outright markets and heavily supported by punters using the energy casino promo code from luckystreet.com. It appeared it would take a near miracle for them not to make the final following this dominant first-leg performance.
However, Liverpool produced a jaw-dropping performance back at Anfield in what was a historic night. They overturned the tie by winning 4-0 at home, which meant they progressed through 4-3 on aggregate. This included three second-half goals, as Messi and Barcelona were stunned and headed out of the competition.
Liverpool, of course, went on to win the final against Tottenham in Madrid. The loss will have been extremely hard to take from everyone involved in Barcelona but also added further fire that they can go on and win it this year and add to their five to date.
Barcelona started the current competition as the general second favorites behind Premier League champions Manchester City. Other key contenders include defending champions Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus.
The Spanish champions were drawn in Group F against Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, and Czech champions Slavia Prague. They progressed through as impressive group winners, with Dortmund then nipping Inter Milan for the runner-up spot in the group.
Barcelona picked up 14 points from six matches played, winning four and drawing two as they remained unbeaten. They opened up with a 0-0 draw away at Borussia Dortmund. This was a point they were lucky to get away with, as the home team missed endless chances, including a second-half penalty.
Barcelona then won their first match of the competition 2-1 at home to Inter Milan. This was despite going into half time 1-0 down, following conceding in the second minute through a Martinez goal.
Barcelona then further cemented their status at the top side of the group with a 2-1 away victory against Slavia Prague. Messi was the difference as he netted an early goal for the side in what was far from a vintage Barcelona performance.
They were then held to a 0-0 draw against the same side at home, despite creating a host of chances on a frustrating night. This also saw Slavia Prague fail to produce a single shot on target in a very one-sided affair despite the result.
Barcelona has begun to find stronger form in recent weeks and won their fifth match in the group 3-1 against Borussia Dortmund. Messi got on the scoresheet on what was his 700th Barcelona appearance, as well as Suarez and Griezmann. This victory guaranteed their progress as Group F winners.
To finish off qualification, Barcelona then faced off against Inter Milan inside the San Siro. This saw them rest a host of players, but this did not make any difference. Carles Perez put Barcelona ahead after 23 minutes before Lukaku drew the home side level on the stroke of half time.
The game then appeared to be heading for a draw, before youngster Ansu Fati netted the winner for the away side. This goal meant he became the youngest ever scorer in the champions league at just 17 years of age. The future is very bright for the young star.
Barcelona now progresses through to the knockout stages and is one of the outright favorites for success. They have been drawn against Italian outfit Napoli in the round of 16. The first leg will be taking place at the Stadio San Paolo on the 25th of February, before the return leg back in Spain on the 18th of March. Barcelona will start as the strong favorites to progress through to the last eight.