1:30 begins four goals

Hat-trick plus 1, for lagniappe.

* Hat-trick in first half.

Lionel Messi is 22 years old, which is young compared to many other footballers. Messi scored a hat-trick against Real Madrid when he was 19 years old. I saw him score two goals at Camp Nou when he was still 19. He has achieved such an inimitable stature in his craft at a relatively young age that he deserves the distinction of “wunderkind.” Messi earned the best player of the year award–the Ballon d’ Or–in 2009 when he was 21, and during a season in which Barcelona won the treble (domestic league, domestic cup and Champions League), in addition to three other tournaments. They won every tournament they entered! It is safe to say that this Barcelona squad–anchored by Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Piqué, Abidal, Touré, Valdes and others who have played in the Catalan system for years–is the best football team ever assembled.

It makes me feel grateful to be alive to watch Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona create Art on the field of play.

I love The Beautiful Game! : )

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