2021 has treated Barcelona very well. They have picked up more points this year alone than they did from September to December, even after the inclusion of more competitions, like the Spanish Super Cup. This charge has been led by none other than the GOAT – Lionel Messi. The Argentine has been rewarded for the same as he picks up the La Liga Player of the Month for February.
Messi was nominated alongside Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois, Real Sociedad’s Aleksander Isak, Real Betis’ Nabil Fekir, Levante’s Jose Luis Morales, Sevilla’s Yassine Bounou, and Athletic Bilbao’s Alek Berenguer for the award, but tipped each one of them to win it. This comes on the back of a sensational performance stretching across five games where he scored seven goals (including two braces), and two assists.
With this win, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has extended his own records of the most wins, with eight such trophies to his name now. What is surprising, though, is that Messi did not win the first of his January 2016, almost two years after the award was introduced in the league (November 2013). It is also his first win in over a year, with the last of these trophies coming to him in November 2019.
❗Official — Leo Messi has been named La Liga Player of the Month for February! pic.twitter.com/uvF6w8tU7Z— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 5, 2021
In fact, no Barcelona player achieved this feat in 24 months despite winning the La Liga once by this time. Neymar was the first player from Barça to get his hands on the trophy for his remarkable form in November 2015.
Unsurprisingly, Luis Suarez has won the award four times himself, etching his name alongside his two partners in crime. His name is alongside Iago Aspas and Antoine Griezmann, sharing the runners up position in the pedestal for the second-most wins of the award. Sadly, the latter has not been able to mark any wins since joining Barcelona in 2019. Other than the incredible MSN, Ansu Fati is the only player from the Garnet and Blue to win the Player of the Month, sealing it for himself in September 2020.
Frenkie de Jong was within a real shout to win the award last month, but Youssef En-Nesyri’s incredible form for Sevilla could not be overlooked.
Report: Barcelona accept defeat in pursuit of Inter Milan striker
According to reports from Corriere della Sera (relayed by SempreInter), Barcelona have now given up on their pursuit of Inter Milan striker, Lautaro Martinez. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal season upfront with Romelu Lukaku, and he is a hot prospect in Europe. He has several skills that make him suited to a team like Barça, who have been chasing him for over a year now.
Inter were initially demanding northwards of €100m for the striker before the start of the 20/21 season. With their financial struggles, the Catalan club were unable to cope with their demands. However, the rumours linking Martinez to Barça did not die down in the months that followed. This is due to the Blaugrana’s dire need for a striker.
The Garnet and the Blue have been considering several options, with the Argentinian striker being only one out of a talented bunch including Aguero, Depay, Haaland, and more. Martinez was hotly tipped to join Barça, apparently wanting a union with his fellow Argentine teammate Lionel Messi.
However, with Inter’s meteoric rise to success, and Martinez’ key role in the team, it seems that he is no longer going to leave the club. The Milan based club is head and shoulders above all other teams in the Serie A, and look set to win their first title in eleven years.
The Argentine forward has played a huge part in Inter’s incredible campaign, scoring fifteen and assisting five in 30 matches this league campaign.
Antonio Conte has done a brilliant job with Inter, and he has also developed Martinez into a phenomenal striker; one who can both score goals as well as drop deep and create the play. With his immense pairing with Lukaku and the inevitable success of Inter, it seems impossible that a transfer is on the card for the young striker any time soon.