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  Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona in 2015

Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona in 2015

AFP
Published : Dec 25, 2015, 12:12 am IST
Updated : Dec 25, 2015, 12:12 am IST

Barcelona turned around a terrible start to 2015 to end the year as the undisputed kings of Spanish football once more having sealed a second treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League in ju

Lionel Messi with the Champions Trophy.	— AP
 Lionel Messi with the Champions Trophy. — AP

Barcelona turned around a terrible start to 2015 to end the year as the undisputed kings of Spanish football once more having sealed a second treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League in just six years.

The Catalans lost their first game of the year to former Manchester United manager David Moyes’s Real Sociedad, sparking an internal crisis at the club.

Coach Luis Enrique’s job was even thought to be on the line, but Messi’s relationship with Luis Suarez and Neymar blossomed in a period of 20 wins in 21 matches that took Barca to the brink of matching the most glorious season in their 116-year history under Pep Guardiola in 2008/09.

Messi trumped Guardiola on his first return home as an opposing coach as the Argentine scored twice and set up Neymar for a third as Barca decisively won the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich 3-0 before progressing to the final 5-3 on aggregate.

A fifth La Liga title in seven years was swiftly sealed thanks to Messi’s winner at Atletico Madrid as a hitherto rampant Real Madrid floundered in the spring, albeit the final advantage was a mere two points.

More Messi magic delivered in Copa del Rey when he scored one of his most memorable goals as he escaped the attentions of four Athletic Bilbao defenders to open the scoring in a 3-1 win.

In Berlin, Messi didn’t score, but it mattered little as Barca beat Juventus 3-1 to seal a fifth European Cup.

Location: Spain, Madrid