Reuters: With a Barcelona shirt on, pretty much everything has gone right for Lionel Messi in the past four seasons, a run of form that has helped the Catalan club to 13 trophies and the Argentine to three World Player of the Year awards.
Messi, who is yet to convince many of his compatriots he is the true heir to Diego Maradona, had scored an astonishing 63 goals in all competitions this season before he took to the field in London last week for the Champions League semi-final first leg against Chelsea.
However, unlike in recent times, when Barca’s season reached the crucial moment, his scoring touch - and luck - deserted him.
He failed to find the net in either leg of the semi-final, meaning he has now been unable to score against Chelsea in eight outings, by far his worst record against any club, and suffered the ignominy of seeing his second-half penalty crash off the bar on Tuesday at the Nou Camp.
He also drew a blank on Saturday when Barca slipped to a 2-1 La Liga defeat at home to arch rivals Real Madrid which all-but ended their bid for a fourth straight title.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the only man who has come close to matching Messi’s scoring feats, rubbed salt in the wounds by netting the winner, helping him shed the tag of a player who does not produce in big games.