If the Ballon d’Or winner is not finding the net himself, he is at least laying them on for his team-mates
It marked a fourth game without a goal for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, whose goal scoring exploits have been renowned throughout a trophy-laden career. Previously, he had failed to net in fixtures against Valencia, Levante and Real Betis.
The last time he endured such a drought came in January 2014, when he went eight games without scoring.
Despite failing to fire recently, he has still managed 14 goals in 19 La Liga matches this season, including hat-tricks against Mallorca and Celta Viga.
And though Messi may not be finding the net currently with his usual unerring ability, he continues to be a decisive presence for Barcelona due to the volume of assists that he continues to rack up.
Indeed, while he has not scored in the last three games, he has still managed to set up six of the Catalans’ seven goals during that span. It is a run that amounts to as many as he had achieved in his previous 20 matches in La Liga.
Messi is now up to 12 assists in only 19 league appearances this season, which is only one fewer than he mustered over the duration of last season, in which he played 34 matches in the Spanish top flight.
He will, nevertheless, be eager to break his scoring duck next Saturday when Eibar visit Camp Nou.
Following that match, Barcelona enter a critical week as they go to Napoli in the Champions League for a last-16 first-leg encounter, then on March 1 they travel to Santiago Bernabeu for a Classico encounter against Real Madrid that is likely to go a long way to determining their success or failure in this season’s title push.
If Messi fails to score in either of those next two league matches, he will have fixtures against Real Sociedad and Mallorca in which to avoid matching the unwanted run of 2014.