Messi magic means treble-treble no longer just a dream for brilliant Barcelona

ShareClose Comments
The Argentine netted another superb strike as Ernesto Valverde's side took another step towards the title. Can anyone stop them winning it all?

The expectations at Barcelona are huge these days. Every summer, as the season starts, press and fans talk of winning the treble. What was previously considered extraordinary is now seen as something almost routine for the Blaugrana.

Barca are, of course, the only club to have won two trebles. The first of those arrived in 2008-09 under Pep Guardiola, with the second coming in 2014-15 with Luis Enrique in charge. And Lionel Messi, naturally, was at the forefront both times.

Current coach Ernesto Valverde was taken aback by questions of a possible treble triumph in this, his debut season at Camp Nou. And it is hardly surprising because he has won just six titles in his career as a manager, five of those in Greece.

"To be honest, I'll be happy just winning tomorrow," he said ahead of a Champions League clash against Sporting CP in September. "I don't look any further than that. We don't seem to just talk about winning one trophy any more, it's now trebles and sextets."

Such is the expectation at Barcelona. But back in September, with the 5-1 aggregate loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa still fresh in their memories, a treble did not seem particularly likely for the Blaugrana.

Six months on, however, Barca look well placed to win a third treble. Another routine win on Sunday, 2-0 at home to an Athletic Club outfit clearly missing their former coach, means the Catalan club are still unbeaten in La Liga with nine games remaining, provisionally 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico.

In the meantime, Valverde's side have progressed to the final of the Copa del Rey, in which they will face Sevilla next month at the Wanda Metropolitano, while a spectacular showing from Messi on Wednesday saw the Blaugrana advance to the last eight of the Champions League.

Friday's Champions League draw then saw Barca paired with Roma – probably the weakest team still left in the competition along with Sevilla – in the quarter-finals. And suddenly, talk of a treble-treble is no longer far-fetched.

Barca Athletic score

Messi is a pivotal part of that, of course. The Argentine hit another superb strike from outside the box in the 2-0 win over Athletic and is probably at a level now that is superior to any of his previous versions.

Article continues below

But it is much more than just Leo. On Sunday, Sergio Busquets was out injured, Andres Iniesta started on the bench and Luis Suarez suspended. Still, however, Barca strode to victory with relative comfort – and positive performances from Ivan Rakitic, Paulinho, Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Paco Alcacer.

There was another clean sheet too, meaning Barca have conceded only 13 times in La Liga this season, their best-ever record at this stage, while they have let in just two in the Champions League as well.

Valverde's side is built on firm foundations and with Coutinho and Dembele both contributing, Suarez back to his best and Messi in monster mode, who would bet against Barca winning a third treble in May?

Next article:
Fabio wants to continue at KL, reveals offer from Thailand
Next article:
Chelsea vs Perth Glory: Kick-off time, TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Next article:
To those who enjoy seeing others fail, I feel for you – Karius responds to criticism
Next article:
'You don't get always in life what you want' - Mourinho responds to Martial exit talk
Next article:
Klopp hails Dortmund star Pulisic after Liverpool loss
Close

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Show more Accept