His goal in the 2nd leg against Chelsea is the fastest he has ever scored for club or country.

Lionel Messi is a petulant school-kid. He pulls away chairs as defenders are about to sit down, hides all their pencils before the maths test and gives them tie-days so suffocatingly tight they can only be resolved with a pair of scissors.

He is carefree and ruthless; you can’t give him detention because that means you’d have to catch him first.

Tonight he scored the fastest goal he has ever scored, effectively ending a well-balanced Champions League tie in just over two minutes. It doesn’t surprise us now. Nothing he does surprises us anymore. When he added another later on, nutmegging Thibaut Courtois for the second time having previously unscrewed his fountain pen so ink exploded all down his shirt, nobody blinked.

Oh, look, Messi is doing that thing he does again: destroying hopes, dreams, fears, worlds. It should be boring by now. It should be a non-event, this, watching him after all these years performing the same jinks and feints over and over like a buffering YouTube video.

Somehow it isn’t. When greatness comes in this form, on a completely different plane to anyone else in the history of the sport, then it is impossible to resist, not to completely succumb to, let alone ignore.

How could you not be enthralled? He’s an alien that has crash-landed in the Andes, sent to reinvent the game of football and turn it into something else entirely. Choreographed slalom skiing…

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