• Lionel Messi has a hidden talent he should use more often for Barcelona
    23:43 | 21/08/2017

    Try as he might, Lionel Messi was simply unable to score against Real Betis on Sunday.

    The Barcelona forward is chasing his 350th La Liga goal and came within inches of achieving the feat on a number of occasions at the Camp Nou.

    With the scores level at 0-0 in the 34th minute, Messi curled a delightful free-kick over the Betis wall but was cruelly denied by the post.

    Barcelona then took the lead through Alin Tosca’s own goal two minutes later, which Messi almost got a touch on, before Sergi Roberto made it 2-0 with a simple finish.

    Messi’s luck didn’t change after the half-time break. Twice more he hit the woodwork in open play, the second of which a thunderbolt from outside the box that deserved to go in.

    Manager Ernesto Valverde will need his star man’s luck to change as the Blaugrana bid to dethrone La Liga champions Real Madrid.

    Having lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and Luis Suarez to a knee injury, Barcelona are in dire straits at present and will look towards Messi for inspiration.

    As always, Messi looks up to the challenge judging by his work rate against Betis.

    The Argentine was here, there and everywhere at the Camp Nou, dropping deep to dictate play or make lung-busting runs forward.

    One moment in the second half encapsulated just how desperate Messi was to get on the scoresheet, which doesn’t happen very often.

    It turns out the 30-year-old has something of a hidden talent. In the 82nd minute, from Deulofeu’s corner, Messi rose like a salmon to head narrowly past the post.

    Messi is only 5ft 7in tall and very rarely attacks corners with such desire, but perhaps he should, because the jump he produced was pretty incredible.

    There’s been a lot of speculation recently about Messi’s future at Barcelona after club officials revealed he still hasn’t signed a new contract.

    However, according to Guillem Balague, it’s only a matter of time. He wrote on Twitter: “Messi has not signed his new contract with FCB. But it is all agreed and WILL sign it.”

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