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02.02.2009 16:31

Messi scores as starter and sub

Berta Brau

Leo Messi has found the net on six occasions in the six games when he’s come off the bench, and is proving to be as lethal as a substitute as when he’s in the starting XI.

Unlike other players, Messi seems to thrive on coming off the bench. He always makes a big difference when he makes his appearance, and has scored six times in six games as a replacement, although he has only found the net in four of them – two in the League and two in the Champions League.

Two crucial goals at El Sardinero

_ep_8592.jpgThe most recent example is Sunday’s game away at Santander. When Messi came on in the 59th minute for Sergio Busquets, Barça were one down, yet within ten minutes he’d scored the equaliser. Then in the 80th minute he notched what would prove to be the winner.

Previous with Racing

Racing Santander know all about how important Messi is. In the game at Camp Nou earlier this season, the Argentine came on in the 58th minute for Keita, and promptly opened the scoring from the penalty spot just 13 minutes later.

Same in Europe

xakhtar-fcb_x8x.jpgMessi has also upped Barça’s game in the Champions League as a replacement. In the Ukraine he came on against Shakhtar Donetsk for Henry with Barça trailing 1-0 in the 59th minute to an Ilsinho strike. The Argentine took the game by the scruff of the neck and scored the two goals that gave Barça all three points.

Off the bench to score against Basel

The same thing happened against Basel. Guardiola wanted to rest Messi and left him on the bench, but with the game still nil-nil after 50 minutes of play, the Catalan coach decided to use the ace up his sleeve and bring on the Argentine. This time it only took Messi three minutes to beat keeper Constanzo to make it 1-0 to the Catalans.
Messi scores as starter and sub

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Ball used to score 5000th goal in the Museum
The ball with which Lionel Messi scored Barça’s 5000th League goal at Racing Santander last Sunday is now on display in the club’s Museum. The ball, signed by the player, will soon be accompanied by the shirt and boots he wore during the game. Like the ball, the shirt and boots will also be signed by Messi.

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