WEEKEND TAKEAWAY: Messi has Nothing to Prove, but the Coming Generation will Question his Legacy

See, three or four generations from now, it is possible that folks who never saw Lionel Messi play in this day and age will say ridiculous things about him and his talent. They will even mock the level and quality of opponents he’s faced and relying heavily on videos and ‘fact-based’ articles they find online – and there will be loads of it thanks to the millennials – they will say things about Lionel Messi that will irk you, so bad, you’ll puke and be filled with so much rage you might be tempted to speak low of whoever it is you’re conversing with on that day. My advice, when that day comes, because it will, remember I told you so.

Chances are that, by the time Lionel Messi retires, he would be top of every individual metric available. I’m talking goals, assists, chances created, completed take-ons, just name it. He’s so good and his standard raised so high that when he’s playing badly he’s compared to mortals.

This past weekend, he scored two free kicks in Barcelona’s 4-0 mauling of city rivals Espanyol who, four matchdays ago were 2nd on the log, three points behind the Blaugrana, extending their lead over Sevilla by three points.

When Lionel Messi is in the mood, he’s unplayable. The problem is, he’s hardly never in the mood. Mageeeeeeesterial Messi!.

River Plate wins frenetic Copa Libertadores

River Plate gain, and CONMEBOL loss? How is that a team that should have and could have been expelled from the tournament for various justifiable reasons end up winning it, emphatically too, in a strange city and the disadvantage of not having a stadium fully supporting them, just as they had played the first leg in a stadium where every touch by a River Plate player received echoes of boos? River Plate, for the fourth time in the illustrious history of the Argentine club, are champions of South America.

Kudos to River Plate, the odds were stacked against them, and to make matters worse they fell 0-1 to a Boca quick break that was calmly finished by Dario Benedetto. Yet they found their way back before clinching it 3-1 in extra time (5-3 on aggregate).

This one-off game at the Santiago Bernabeu should never have been, rather than travel 6,000 miles to Madrid, the payers and fans should have taken a cab ride to El Monumental.

Did Boca Juniors get justice for what they suffered? Maybe not. Is River Plate a worthy champion? Absolutely!

Ousmane Dembele can’t stay away from Negative News

While Messi is out there as a living example to follow, Ousmane Dembele, for all his talents can’t get negative press attention away from him. This time, he’s two hours late to training, hours after Barcelona’s 4-0 derby win. Two steps forward, one step backwards.

Resolute Chelsea dispatch Champions

The worst thing that could have happened to Sarri would have been a defeat to Man City on Saturday. Although, there is no shame in losing to the best team in the division, but to get a win against all odds and on the back of a poor run, it’s the perfect antidote to whatever negativity that might have been gathering momentum.

It is a long season, there will be good patches and bad. No team can go through an entire season without facing bad patches, what matters is the response and in this case, Chelsea responded brilliantly.

The timing of Ngolo Kante’s goal was the perfect gift and then David Luiz caps an exceptional performance with an unstoppable header. Usually, whenever it is going well for the Brazilian, you can’t halt it.

Raheem Sterling Outburst

Watching as these four Chelsea supporters hauled insults at Raheem Sterling was horrifying and it takes a lot of courage and maturity not to lash out in those circumstances, to top it off, Raheem Sterling laughed and continued with his business, playing football.

Following the defeat, Sterling released a damning statement about the unfair treatment of the Media which fuels racism. Sadly, this is absolutely true. Is this the first time media have gone hard on young rich multimillionaires? Definitely not. David Beckham and Wayne Rooney are two other popular English footballers who suffered similar fate as the Manchester City winger, the difference is exactly what Raheem Sterling pointed out here.

Liverpool go top of the League

Come to think of it, when was the last time Liverpool top of the league? It doesn’t matter, they are top of the league for at least the next seven days before Manchester United storm Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have had to huff and puff their way all season, doing everything needed to keep pace with a rampaging Man City and when a real chance to go top was presented early on Saturday, they took it. This Manchester City don’t lose often, there is minimal margin for error, so to keep pace with City, Liverpool will need to get as many wins as they can beginning with the visit of Manchester United on Sunday.

Again, the huge investment on both Virgil Van Dijk and Allison Becker is paying dividends, the defence line have managed 10 clean sheets this season alone and have shipped in only six goals in 16 league games played capping an incredible unbeaten run and now Klopp will have to eat his reckless words.

Borussia Dortmund Keep Unbeaten Streak Alive

Dortmund are not top of the Bundesliga because they are the best team at home, they are top of the league because they are ruthless away from home. Lucien Favre’s side have only dropped four points in seven away Bundesliga games all season and on Saturday in a heated Revierderby, they picked another 1-2 win at the Veltins Arena.

Borussia Dortmund have now defeated RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Schalke 04 this season. And now, all eyes will be on Matchday 17, the visit of second-placed Borussia Monchengladbach is the best way to end the year and possibly crown the yellow and black Borussia winter champions.

Juve Still Searching for a Worthy Match

There’s something about the way Juventus have won the big games this season. Low-scoring, gritty affairs suggesting that the games are more difficult than what it used to be. Except, that is not the case.

Juve took another 1-0 win over third-placed Inter Milan on Friday, established an 11-point gap on the Nerazzurri and left Napoli with no other choice but to win on Saturday.

The way Juve is going about this season without necessarily stepping into second gear, unless they press the self-destruct button, we may just as well hand them the title by the end of December.

Cecilia Braekhus’ status was never in doubt

Cecilia Braekhus did it again, and did it in relatively easy fashion, staying unbeaten with a one-sided decision victory over Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes, retaining her undisputed welterweight championship.

Braekhus landed 143 of 349 (41%) total punches and 51% (129 of 255) of her power punches. Magdziak Lopes landed 51 of 449 (11%) of her punches, and 37 of 164 (23%) of her power shots.

Official scores were 99-91, 100-90, and 100-90 for Braekhus.

“I maybe pushed it a little bit too much,” Braekhus said after, saying she wanted to score the knockout. “If I would have maybe relaxed, the knockout would have come.”

Braekhus (35-0, 9KO) doesn’t have an impressive knockout record and it’s easy to see why she wanted one against a relatively easy opponent. But boxing will usually deny you when you’re anxious and every champion knows this.