There is Cristiano Ronaldo, there is Wayne Rooney, but there is only one Leo Messi. That left foot has a brain of its own- the neural representation must be the size of what is devoted to the hand. It is so precise, so deadly, changing the course of the ball with a series of flicks like a snake finding its prey with its tongue. For good measure he scored his third goal with the right foot. Yes, he is bipedal.
His hat trick shattered Valencia, a proud club as Unai Emery and his men looked on in disbelief. And Thierry Henry quietly had one of his best nights. He may not be the marquee player but if he is going out, then Pep Guardiola is losing out on a player still playing well within his born on date. The Barca manager was a spectator serving out a suspension for arguing with the linesman in the Almeria match.
The Liga is now a dogfight between the Blaugrana and the Merengues with the latter ahead on goal difference. They destroyed Valladolid, 4-1 on the strength of Gonzalo Higuain's hat trick. A welcome change from his ineptness against Lyon. And a reprieve for the beleaguered Manuel Pellegrini.