I am writing this in a post-match glow.
As you likely know, Barcelona just took on Leverkusen in Champions League. What you may also know is that Leverkusen was positively thrashed by Barca, 7-1. Furthermore, you may be aware that a diminutive forward for Barcelona named Lionel Messi took the game over and basically disrespected anyone who has ever tried to play soccer. Why, you ask? Well, he was that good. Any of us who have ever touched the pitch now look foolish for even trying. Messi showed us what football looks like. He reminded us what is so great about our sport, and why it has been dubbed “The Beautiful Game.” During the rout, Messi tucked in five goals. Many of them were of the “spectacular” variety. At one point during the second half I was quite sure I caught myself screaming like a little schoolgirl. This cannot be confirmed, however, and for that I am grateful.
(oh in case you have yet to witness… here be some highlights, or lowlights for you Leverkusen people, from our friends at FOX Soccer)
A quick check of twitter, facebook, and other sites among the web showed me that I was not alone in my accolades. Twitter was blowing up, and that was to be expected. But even mainstream sports sites in the United States were leading with Messi’s performance. This made me pleased. Honestly, we don’t that type of exposure on a mainstream level very often.
While Barcelona was wrapping up their destruction of Leverkusen, (10-2 on aggregate, daaaaaamn!), I couldn’t help but start thinking about other notable individual performances I have seen throughout the years.
- Romario personally lit up the Manchester United team when he was playing for Barcelona in 94. He made runs both with and without the ball that were downright mesmerizing.
- As a goalkeeper myself, I was particularly drawn to a match Peter Schmeichel played against Germany during the 92 Euro Final. He was flat-out clutch. Germany’s attack seemed incessant, and Schmeichel was brilliant in response. He singlehandedly delivered that championship to the Danes.
- Leverkusen was victim again in 2002 during the Champions League final. This time the culprit was none other than a pre-headbutt Zinedine Zidane. ZZ played sensationally in midfield the entire game before scoring the game winner on a cross from Roberto Carlos. That game winner often overshadows the masterful performance Zidane displayed in midfield. The volley was one of best goals ever scored in international competition.
Now, there are numerous great individual performances. Many more than just the few I have mentioned. These just happened to jump out at me. Feel free to sound off and let us know what you think. Will Messi’s performance be topped? Or is it not even at the top of the heap?