Saturday, April 6, 2013
6 April 2010 - Messi Hits A New Mark
Only 23 years old at the time, Messi had already established himself as one of the world's elite players, winning the 2009 Ballon d'Or after a season in which he won six trophies with Barcelona. But he still faced accusations of disappearing in big games, both with Argentina and Barça, including the latter's 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal meeting in which the forward failed to score or do much of anything of note.
That changed in the second leg, however. Playing in front of a crowd of over 93,000 at Camp Nou, Arsenal took the lead with a goal from striker Nicklas Bendtner in the 18th minute to go up 3-2 on aggregate. But after that, it was all Messi.
He scored his first goal in the 21st minute and had completed a hat-trick by the break, with additional strikes in the 37th and 42nd minutes, effectively ending the contest. But Messi wasn't done; he added a fourth goal in the 88th minute, marking the first time in his career he had scored four times in one game. (He was also just the sixth player to do it in the Champions League).
Unfortunately for Messi and Barcelona, they were eliminated in the semifinals by eventual champions Inter, but they did repeat as La Liga champions and, at the end of the year, Messi won a second Ballon d'Or.