The world has seen several historic comebacks in the game of football. Some featured late, late dramas, while for some the stage was enough to be deemed ‘special’.
When it comes to comebacks, Lionel Messi has been at the heart of several such resurgences in the space of 90 minutes. The Argentinean, arguably the best footballer the world has ever seen, has lead both his club FC Barcelona and national team to some epic turnovers that nobody even dared to dream of. We take a look at some of them.
Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan – UCL 2013
AC Milan may have given up its status as a global force since 2010s, but they made a mini-revival in 2012-13, led by shining star Stephen El Shaarawy. They had won the first leg 2-0, guided by a first time volley from Kevin-Prince Boateng. No team had ever turned a 2-0 first leg deficit in the history of the Champions League, but this was Barca at its prime.
The game started, and it was written Messi all over. By the 39th minute, the No. 10 had scored twice to level proceedings. It ended 4-0 in favour of the Spanish side with David Villa and Jordi Alba contributing to the goals.
Argentina 5-0 Panama – Copa America 2016
Should be an easy encounter for Argentina, no? It wasn’t, contrary to what the scoreline suggests. It was all down to the brilliance of one man, La Pulga. Panama were defending with all their might, and the Albiceleste were struggling to break them down. The minnows had also came close on a couple of occasions.
And then arrived Leo Messi at the scene. A hattrick ensued, with the Argentine captain scoring in the 68th, 78th and 87th minute to rally the game around and take his team home comfortably.
El Clasico 3-2 – La Liga 2016-17
These were the good old days for La Liga, with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi firing on all cylinders for Real Madrid and FC Barcelona respectively. At one point, Messi was left on the ground bleeding after he got an elbow to the face by left-back Marcelo. Real Madrid had taken the lead with a Casemiro goal, only to be cancelled out by Messi with a brilliant goal in the 33rd minute.
Ivan Rakitic scored a brilliant goal, and it was cancelled out by James Rodriguez. The stage was set for late drama. Leo Messi finished a brilliant worked goal with a cool bottom corner finish in the 92nd minute, virtually the last kick of the game, writing his quality all over the game.
Ecuador 1-3 Argentina – World Cup qualifier 2017
Argentina, who subsequently reached the Round of 16 of the 2018 World Cup only to lose to France who lifted the trophy eventually, were on the verge of elimination even in qualifying. Ecuador were already out, and were looking to make a last-ditch effort to cause an upset against Leo Messi’s side.
Argentina’s fears were fueled after Romario Ibarra gave Ecuador a 1-0 lead very early in the game. However, Di María provided an assist for his captain in the 12th minute. Messi added two more to his quota, completed his hattrick and booked a flight to Russia.
Barcelona 6-1 PSG – UCL 2016-17
After scaling a lead of 2-0 in the second leg with 4-0, Barca had their eyes set on 4-0 against more formidable opponents in PSG, who had steamrolled the Spanish club in Paris. They had the best attacking force in Europe, with Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez terrorizing teams across Europe.
In the first 45, Luis Suárez’s goal and an own goal by Layvin Kurzawa gave Barça signs of a revival or at least a fightback. Later, a Messi penalty set the score at 3-0 and made the world dream of the impossible. Edison Cavani scored for PSG to make things even more difficult for the hosts at Nou Camp.
A Neymar brace and a last minute flying effort from Sergio Roberto gave Nou Camp its greatest comeback in the history of the club, scaling the insurmountable.
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