Lionel Messi was the star of the show as his brace helped Barcelona register a convincing 3-0 win over Elche at Camp Nou.
However, it was his gesture after the game that earned him plaudits, as he requested Edgar Badia for his jersey in return after the Elche goalkeeper had approached Messi for his shirt.
Badia had a momentary look of surprise that the Barcelona icon had asked for his jersey and promptly heeded the request. This was a moment that showed the universal respect Lionel Messi has among his peers.
Fans on social media were quick to highlight the classy gesture from Lionel Messi, considering that Badia is not one of the high-profile names in the game. The 29-year-old was playing in the second division as recently as last year but has made a name for himself since helping the Valencians gain promotion to the top-flight.
Furthermore, Lionel Messi rarely asks for shirts in return, even though he is almost always besieged with requests for his shirt after a game.
The Argentina international once revealed that he does not ask to swap shirts unless he has a compatriot on the opposing team. However, he stated that he once sought out Zinedine Zidane for a shirt swap during the latter’s playing days.
Can Lionel Messi lead Barcelona to glory this season?
Lionel Messi’s brace against Elche took him to 18 league goals for the season and two clear in the race for the La Liga Golden Boot.
Barceona have endured a wretched campaign and are on the verge of ending a second season without a trophy. Lionel Messi continues to lead their charge but the 33-year-old has performed significantly beneath his otherworldly standards.
The Blaugrana were on the end of another harrowing defeat in the UEFA Champions League last week, with Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick powering Paris Saint-Germain to a 4-1 win at Camp Nou.
Barcelona also suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Sevilla in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal and face a battle to overturn the deficit when they host the Andalusians in a fortnight. Their charge in the La Liga is also floundering, as they are five points behind Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for Lionel Messi. However, if Barcelona are to salvage anything from what has been a poor campaign, their talisman will have to be at his best.