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Lionel Messi

Did you see today’s UEFA Champions League soccer game between Arsenal and Barcelona? If so, you’ll understand why Lionel Messi is my newest idol. I knew he was on the short list of best players in the world, but I hadn’t paid too close attention until today. He now moves to the top of my list. I’ll be watching Argentina’s games closely in the upcoming World Cup.

The Champions League — formerly known as the European Cup — is the annual competition among Europe’s best professional teams that culminates in one of them being crowned Europe’s best. We are now in the quarterfinal round, with eight teams split into four pairings and each pair competing in home-and-home games. The team in a pairing with the most aggregate goals moves on to the semifinals.

The first leg of the quarterfinals was played last week. Two of the second-leg quarterfinal games were held today; the other two are tomorrow. One of today’s games was the second Arsenal-Barcelona meeting. The two played to a 2-2 tie in London last week, setting up today’s game in Barcelona, which I was fortunate to stumble on just ten minutes in. At the 18-minute mark, Arsenal scored first. Three minutes later, Messi countered with an astonishing goal. Two defenders closed on him just outside the goal area, but he somehow got off a perfect shot just between them, right into the upper right corner of the goal, beyond the goalie’s reach. In the next 20 minutes, he scored twice more, and for good measure, he got one more goal with two minutes left in the second half. That was it. A 4-1 victory for Barcelona.

Did I mention that Messi is only 22 years old? You can learn more about him at his website, and you can see all the game’s goals in the youtube video at the top.

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Categories: Sports
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