Barcelona captain Lionel Messi surprised Elche goalkeeper Édgar Badía after Wednesday’s La Liga clash between the two sides at the Camp Nou.
Messi scored twice during the match to help Barca secure a 3-0 victory and embraced Badia after the match. The Argentine also handed over his match shirt and indicated he wanted Badia’s jersey in return, a gesture that seemed to catch the stopper by surprise.
Messi couldn’t help but grin at the goalkeeper’s star-struck response before Badia willingly handed over his own shirt to the Barcelona captain.
The 33-year-old struck twice in the second half to put Barca in charge after a frustrating opening 45 minutes at the Camp Nou. Jordi Alba rounded off the scoring for Barcelona on a good night for Ronald Koeman’s men. The victory puts the Catalan giants back into third place in the table in Spain and just five points behind leaders Atletico Madrid who have played a game less.
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Another Pichichi For Messi?
Messi’s goals continue his recent hot streak in front of goal and mean he now has 18 for the season in La Liga, taking him two clear of Atletico Madrid’s Luis Suarez in the scoring charts in Spain’s top flight.
The Argentine is now on course to win the Pichichi award, given to the top scorer in La Liga, for a record eighth time in his career. If he does top the scoring charts once again it will be for the fifth consecutive season.
Messi claimed the prize last season after netting 25 times in 33 games and became the first player to win the prestigious award seven times. If the Argentine does pick up the trophy again it would add another impressive record to his huge collection.
There’s no doubt that Messi is red-hot in front of goal currently. The captain has six goals in his last four matches and has been on target in each of his last 10 La Liga games.
Koeman Hails Important Win
Coach Ronald Koeman offered his thoughts on the win after the match as his team bounced back well from a disappointing 1-1 draw against Cadiz on Sunday. The Dutchman said it was important his team picked up three points, as reported by Marca.
We needed to win after the last two results. We had a great second half, we made the difference but we have to improve the first half. Dembélé’s entry created a lot of spaces for us, the circulation is higher … and from there thegoals have come. The confidence after going 1-0 up increased.
I think the team improved in the second half. If we can look for Leo between the lines there is a lot of danger. We have seen that in the second half. It is important to have players like Pedri because he can play in different positions. He is a very smart player.
Barca now head into some important fixtures, starting with two games against Sevilla. The Catalan giants are at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in La Liga on Saturday and face a side just one place and two points below them in the table.
Sevilla then travel to the Camp Nou in a week’s time for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. Julen Lopetegui’s side have a 2-0 lead in the tie and will be favorites to make it through to the final.