Another win for Barcelona placed them alone at the top of the league with 12 points from four games. Barcelona beating Levante isn’t a surprise at all, neither is it a surprise that they managed to score five goals, but from the look of it, Luis Enrique is getting the best out of Messi in a new role.
When Luis Enrique was coaching Roma, he pushed Totti to the middle and allowed him to be the focus of the team’s creativity, Francesco was the star in many ways as he assisted team-mates and created plays, during that season Totti wasn’t able to score as many goals as he would have liked but he was still the team’s hero thanks to his inspiring role in the middle. Nowadays, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is playing a similar role under the same coach. Luis Enrique preferred to give Neymar the role of scoring goals while Lionel Messi was still the team’s lynchpin.
Messi no longer leading the front-lines dropped deep to occupy the playmaker’s role in the absence of Xavi. Xavi left a void in Barcelona’s middle that only Messi can fill, the Argentine won’t be playing as deep as Xavi in Barcelona’s midfield but he will be handling many of his tasks including playmaking. Neymar scored his third goal of the season against Levante, the surprise is that all three were assisted by Messi himself, perhaps this season could be the first one since a long time where Messi ceases to be Barcelona’s top scorer but he will remain their best player. In addition to assisting Neymar, Messi went on Sandro’s goal and eventually score one himself. Despite missing a penalty, Messi was phenomenal against Levante. A change in his position could give him more unpredictability and re-ignite Barcelona’s football. All this has been going on without Luis Suarez, soon the Uruguayan striker will be on the pitch for Barcelona and with Messi playing the playmaker’s role, Suarez could become the world’s most prolific striker.
During the times of Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Messi wanted to be the main man, the club’s dribbler, scorer and hero. This season, he has shown that he has matured, he placed the club’s ambition ahead of his own one by accepting a new role given to him by Luis Enrique that will surely keep Barcelona a competitive side. Although Luis Suarez is older than Messi, Messi is the mature one and the more experienced, it’s his task to sacrifice for the sake of his club and for the sake of his team-mates to help create a winning system. With four goals and five assists, Messi is currently the world’s best performer.