Lionel Messi Career

2006-07 season

Messi maintained his reputation as a big match player when he tricked Brazilian full back, Roberto Carlos, making him fall over and break a finger during one particularly deft move.[25] His 89th minute equaliser away to Werder Bremen was pivotal in Barcelona's qualification to the Champions League knock out phase. Messi had another long lay off with a broken metatarsal which kept him out for 3 months.[26] He sustained the injury in a game against Real Zaragoza on November 12, after tackles from Alberto Zapater and Albert Celades.[27] On 5 January 2007, Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo reported that Internazionale president Massimo Moratti was planning a £71 million bid for Messi;[28] however, Moratti denied any immediate plans to sign Messi in an interview posted on Internazionale's official website.[29] He made his return against Racing Santander on the 11th of February, where he came on as a second-half substitute.[1] On 10 March 2007, he scored a hat-trick against Real Madrid in El Clásico, with his third goal coming in injury time to earn 10-man Barcelona the draw 3-3 at home to Real Madrid. Messi was the first player to score a hat-trick in El Clásico since Iván Zamorano did it for Real Madrid in the 1994-95 season, and the first Barcelona player to do it since Romario scored three against Real Madrid in the 1993-94 season. Messi is the youngest player ever to have scored in El Clásico, and against Recreativo he scored again, his 7th goal. He scored again against Deportivo, from a wonderful pass from Ronaldinho. A wonderful solo goal against Getafe CF in a Copa del Rey game on 18 April further reflected Messi's footballing similarity with Diego Maradona, and has further forged the youngster as one of the hottest prospects in the game[30]. On June 9 Messi scored a goal with his hand against RCD Espanyol very similar to Diego Maradona, once again furthering the comparisons with the former Argentina great. He scored 2 goals when they beat Atletico Madrid with 6-0, and 2 goals against Espanyol. On the closing day of La Liga, Messi scored two goals against Gimnastic de Tarragona but, despite his efforts to lead his club to victory in that game, Barcelona lost La Liga crown to Real Madrid.

Few days later Spanish news agency EFE awarded him the 2007 trophy for the best Ibero-American football player in La Liga ahead of Daniel Alves from Sevilla and club mate Ronaldinho. Messi gained the title as the youngest player ever and has a buy out clause of 150 million Euros which is the highest in the world. [citation needed]
Messi shortly before scoring the goal.
Messi shortly before scoring the goal.

On April 18, 2007, Messi scored two goals during a Copa del Rey semi-final against Getafe CF, one of which was very similar to Maradona's famous goal against England at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, known as the Goal of the Century.[31] Messi's goal is already considered a major contender for the best goal of the year. The world's sports press exploded with Maradona comparisons, and the Spanish press labelled Messi as "Messidona". He ran about the same distance (62 metres), beat the same number of players (six, including the goalkeeper), scored from a very similar position, and ran towards the corner flag just as Maradona did in Mexico 21 years before. In a press conference after the game, Messi's team-mate Deco said: "There's no other like Leo." [32]

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