With just 10 games to go, Barcelona are on the brink of a second successive La Liga crown. With a 0-4 win against Eibar at the Ipurua, Barca extended their unbeaten run to 36 games to tie AC Milan's record from the early 1990's.
After the match, Luis Enrique urged his team not to be complacent despite another important victory as they march on towards the title. He said: "There are still 30 points left to play for, the team knows that we won't get distracted by thinking we're champions ahead of time".
Lucho however added that based on current form there are only a few teams that can stop Barca. On Munir El Haddadi, he said he was impressed by the youngster's performance, who everybody knew is quite talented and has big potential, but hasn't been able to play a lot of late.
Eibar coach Jose Luis Mendilibar had no complaints with the result and said coming back into the match after going down 0-2 against the mighty Catalans was next to impossible. Of Messi, he said the magician creates goals out of nothing and wins matches on his own.
Perhaps, the coach wasn't so wrong after all. Throughout the years, we have been witnessing the genius of the little Argentine and yet he continues to amaze us on a regular basis. Take for example the first goal. At one moment there was no sight of the goal and then Messi decided to step in. With a lofted pass to Suarez, he split the entire defence open who then crossed the ball for Munir to score from point blank range.
And the best player in the world wasn't done yet. He scored a golazo starting with a jinxing run and scoring a low left footed strike from just inside the box. Juan Ramis then handled a Messi pass in the second half following which Messi coolly converted from the spot.
This season Barca has missed nine out of the 19 penalties awarded and thus it was a relief to see Messi finally scoring and ending the rough patch from 12 yards. With this Messi has now 22 goals this year as compared to 17 in 2012. He also became the first player in the history of La Liga to score 20+ goals in eight consecutive seasons. History in the making? Perhaps so. Only time will tell.
And it is not only Messi who is creating records for himself. Barca are on a roll themselves breaking records every other weekend. After equalling Milan's record, the team can now aim for Nottingham Forest (40) and Juventus (43) to be the team with longest undefeated streak in Europe's top 5 leagues. But records don't matter unless trophies come hand in hand with them. Thus the team needs to remain focused of the ultimate prize vis-à-vis the trophies.
So what may be the secret recipe for this awe-inspiring form? Jordi Alba may have answered that for us. He said the secret to success is that the team get on really well. There is no enmity among the players and are always at hand to help each other out.
It is quite well known that Messi and Suarez live in the same locality and reports have also come of Neymar purchasing a property in the vicinity. Messi and Suarez regularly go and pick up each other's children from the school whereas Ter Stegen and Ivan Rakitic are also very close friends. Such friendships transcend boundaries, which impacts the players on and off the pitch and, in the long run, the results are turning out to be positive.
Cristiano Ronaldo might believe hugs and kisses don't matter and it's only the performance on the pitch that should be noted. But when Messi lets Neymar or Suarez take a penalty even when he is on a hattrick, it reflects the bonding they have developed and the personal sacrifices they are willing to take just to help the other one out. Leaving personal achievements aside, they care more about team glory -- So much so that Messi himself had no idea MSN had already scored 100 combined goals this season.
All good being said, a few critical fixtures lay just ahead. With 14consecutive league wins, six among those in away fixtures, the team has gathered plenty of momentum. Therefore the team must be ready to face the likes of Villarreal, Real Madrid and Real Sociedad consecutively in the coming weeks.
Villarreal are fouth in the table and, only recently, their own 14 game unbeaten streak was ended by Las Palmas. Playing an attractive brand of football, they have earned rich praise and are favourites to bag a Champions League spot. Eternal rivals Real Madrid may arguably be the easier of the fixtures due to their poor away form of late and injury issues.
Real Sociedad will be another match Luis Enrique will be looking forward to. In the last 14 years, Barca has managed just two victories playing away to Los Donostiarras, with the last victory coming in 2007. Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova, Tata Martino and Luis Enrique have all failed, with last year's match ending via a Jordi Alba own goal.
With 100 goals between them this season, there is no stopping MSN. Last season they managed 122 goals among themselves and are on course to break their own record. With Messi at his almighty best, another treble cannot be ruled out. How many years will this dominance continue? Can Luis Enrique create a lasting legacy at the club? The future looks safe as of now, but what it may bring is nothing but a mystery.