2016 hasn’t been an easy year for Lionel Messi. He narrowly escaped the Big House, quit his national team in protest, and bleached his hair like Eminem circa 2000. But through it all, he managed to return to Barcelona an EVEN BETTER player than he left. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
Messi put on an absolute clinic in Barcelona’s 3-2 victory over Italian side Sampadoria in the Joan Gamper Cup, an annual preseason friendly hosted by Barcelona in honor of Barcelona great Joan Gamper.
Leo’s bleached fingerprints were all over the match as he tallied a (spectacular) assist and two goals.
Watch how he links up with Luis Suarez to score the game’s opening goal:
See how Suarez directs Messi to make that diagonal run with which he parlays into an absurd bicycle kick assist for Suarez to knock home? They’re two peas in a pod.
Messi and Suarez combine again for Barcelona’s second goal. They’re on some straight-up playground shit. Once Messi finds himself one-on-one with the goalie, he dekes the poor keeper like a young Mario Lemieux:
Barcelona’s third goal is all Messi and pure class. He launches a left-footed missile that finds the back of the net easier than a Ray Allen free throw.
The Little Wizard’s performance should alleviate some concerns about his mental and physical well-being. He hasn’t missed a step. In fact, the world’s best player has gotten even better since we last saw him. The only thing left is for him to reconcile with the national team and reclaim his throne as King of Argentina.