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It'll take more than just Messi to keep up with this Madrid

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The game last night ended agonisingly thanks to the genius of Messi. He won the foul, and then duly put ball where only cobwebs lie. Before that he had smashed one against the post, and even before that he provoked a penalty claim when Bruno’s flailing hand deflected his shot. Iglesias Villanueva did not see it, causing new irritation among the Barcelonistas that would not be placated by a later (non-penalised) Mascherano handball. Barça have reason to feel hard done by after yesterday's game, but there is something else too.

Messi's 'work of art' against Villarreal

That something else is that behind Lionel Messi there is no team. In it there are some good, even excellent players: Iniesta, of course, and Neymar, who creates danger, but finishes badly. There is the insistent percussion of Luis Suárez, too, although he looks out of shape. There’s also Piqué, of course, the rock. But the rest pales in........

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