Barcelona took a giant stride towards regaining the title as Lionel Messi’s 600th career goal earned a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid in LaLiga.
Having drawn three of their last five league outings, the leaders held a five-point advantage coming into Sunday’s clash against second-placed Atletico at Camp Nou.
GOOOOOOOAL! Messi scores his 600th career goal
— Tanisha Arya (@WweTanishaArya) March 4, 2018
Diego Simeone’s side had won eight and drawn one of their previous nine in LaLiga, but their momentum was halted by another milestone moment for the majestic Messi.
On 599 goals for club and country, the Argentine brought up the landmark in fitting style, bending a free-kick into the top corner midway through the first half despite a touch from goalkeeper Jan Oblak at full stretch.
When Messi makes freekick look like penalty 😎
GODLY STUFF 🔥 pic.twitter.com/of4XCCOTpE
— S.A.E.E.N 🔥🔥 (@MaanGayaa) March 4, 2018
It was the third successive league game in which Messi has netted a direct free-kick – the first time he has achieved that feat – and Barca could have had more at the end of a first half in which Atletico failed to muster a shot on target.
The only sour note for Barca was losing Andres Iniesta to an apparent hamstring strain in the opening period and, although Atletico improved after the break, Marc-Andre ter Stegen was barely tested, ensuring the day belonged to Messi and Barca.