Lionel Messi continued his sublime goal-scoring form which has seen him become the firm favourite to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or, with the crowning ceremony bracing to take centre stage at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on December 2.
Messi bagged a sublime late winner which saw champions Barcelona defeat Atlético Madrid 1-0 at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium to return to the top of La Liga. He racked up his 10th goal in eleven games after he curled sweetly into the corner of Jan Oblak’s goal from the edge of the penalty box with four minutes remaining.
Before then, however, it had appeared Ernesto Valverde would be made to settle for a point after Gerard Piqué’s header had hit the crossbar before Oblak prevented Ivan Rakitić from finding the desired result with his chanced sniff at goal. At the other end, Atlético missed several chances of their own, with German international Ter Stegen’s incredible reaction saves – first from Mario Hermoso’s close-range shot and then Álvaro Morata’s header – ensuring Los Colchoneros were kept out.
In the end, Messi’s late solitary strike proved decisive as the Blaugrana climb above Real Madrid on goal difference; level on 31 points apiece after 14 games. The result also means that Atlético have failed to win any of their last 19 league matches against Barcelona, a run stretching back to February 2010.