Get your personal affairs in order and tell your family that you love them because Lionel Messi has now gone four consecutive La Liga matches without a goal. If that fact does not make you panic and rethink all you previously knew to be true, then enjoy your blissful innocence as the universe implodes around you.
For normal humans who haven't won four straight Ballon d'Or awards and broken world scoring records the way most people take naps, going four league matches without a goal is as imperceptible as going four seconds without blinking. But for an icon like Lionel Messi, it's more like going four hours.
The last time Messi went four Primera Division matches without a goal was way back in the 2010/11 season...and he still managed to score 31 goals in 33 matches that year. And despite his current streak, he still has eight league goals this season -- three behind Cristiano Ronaldo and four behind Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa. Plus, in this midst of this domestic crisis, he did manage a goal against Milan in the Champions League.
So what does all of this mean? Well, not much other than to highlight just how prolific Messi is. When he goes more than a game or two without a goal, it's unusual. People take notice. If anything, it makes you appreciate what we now accept as his version of normal even more than you might be able to when he's flicking in three or four goals in a single match.
Since the start of the 2008/09 season, Messi has scored 283 goals in 283 appearances across all competitions. He's averaged a goal a game over five plus seasons. When a player has that kind of production over that long of a period, it's easy to start taking such consistent incredibleness for granted and we might have already reached that point with Messi (and Cristiano Ronaldo, for that matter).
So the next time Messi makes an appearance without scoring a goal, consider it a reminder of just how impressive it is when he makes scoring in bunches look easy. And take shelter in a well-stocked panic room just in case it does signal the end of existence as we know it.
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