The Argentine's strike in the 1-1 draw at AC Milan in the Champions League was his only goal in an unusually quiet four weeks in which he was also sidelined with a thigh problemCOMMENT
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
Lionel Messi will be glad to see the back of October, having netted only once for Barcelona last month.
The Argentine attacker struck seven times for the Catalan club in October 2012 and added three more for Argentina in the same month, but scored only one goal this time around in an injury-interrupted four weeks.
In 2012, Messi hit a double in the entertaining 2-2 draw with Real Madrid at Camp Nou on October 7, bagged a hat-trick in the astonishing 5-4 win at Deportivo La Coruna and added two more in the 5-0 win over Rayo Vallecano later in the month. And in between, he struck twice in Argentina's 3-0 victory at home to Uruguay in World Cup qualifying, then once in the 2-1 success against Chile in Santiago several days later.
|MESSI FOR BARCA IN OCTOBER
|Celtic 0-1 Barca||Oct 1||Did not play
|Barca 4-1 Valladolid
||Oct 5||Did not play
|Osasuna 0-0 Barca
||Oct 19||Played 22 minutes
|Milan 1-1 Barca
||Oct 22||Played 90; scored
|Barca 2-1 Madrid
||Oct 26||Played 90; no goals
|Celta 0-3 Barca
||Oct 29||Played 90; no goals
He therefore missed his side's hard-fought 1-0 win at Celtic in the Champions League on October 1 and was also absent as Gerardo Martino's men thrashed Valladolid 4-1 four days later in La Liga.
Still recovering from his injury, Messi was unable to link up with Argentina for the nation's last two World Cup qualifiers and stayed behind in Barcelona as the Albiceleste beat Peru 3-1 to seal top spot in the South American standings en route to Brazil 2014 before losing their last match 3-2 to Uruguay.
And, although Barca had claimed Messi was ready to return in the Primera Division fixture at Osasuna, Martino left Leo on the bench in Pamplona until the last 22 minutes of the game. The Argentine, however, was unable to inspire his side to a ninth straight success in La Liga as the two teams drew 0-0 on October 19.
Messi was back in the Barcelona side for the Champions League clash with AC Milan at San Siro three days later, netting the equaliser in that match after Robinho had given the Serie A side the lead early on. The Argentine completed the 90 minutes and came close to scoring the winner, but his San Siro strike would be his only October goal - and it came in Barca's yellow and red Senyera kit, not in the team's traditional blaugrana.
Leo then found himself on the right wing in the Clasico against Real Madrid at Camp Nou last Saturday and did not manage a shot on target in what was something of an off-colour display. He also failed to convert in the Catalans' 3-0 win at Celta Vigo on Tuesday - although this time he did everything but find the net in an impressive performance and played a key part in two of the three goals.
November begins with a derby date on Friday at home to Espanyol, a fixture which has brought Messi five goals in the last two seasons (including all four in a 4-0 win in 2011-12, in what was Pep Guardiola's final home game as Barca boss). A Champions League clash at home to Milan follows on Wednesday, before Liga meetings with Betis and Granada and a trip to Ajax in Europe on November 26. Messi could also feature for Argentina in friendlies against Ecuador and Bosnia-Herzegovina in New Jersey and Saint Louis, respectively.
And with voting for the 2013 Ballon d'Or to be concluded by November 15, Messi will be looking to make this month count after what was, by his high standards, an October to forget.
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