18th March, 2019
Lionel Messi must have been shocked to see which side of the stadium the applause was coming from.
In these days when soccer has been turned into a sort of do or die battle, it is surely a very rare sight to see fans applauding an opposing player especially after he or she has just immensely contributed to the defeat of their own team right on their stadium turf.
This is why kudos must be given to the Real Betis fans who showed a whole lot of maturity as they openly applauded Barcelona’s “Captain Marvelous” Messi right after he scored a hat-trick against their darling team en route to a 4-1 win for the visiting team.
This is surely a big boost to soccer and an act that should be emulated by all and sundry.
The player in question, Lionel Messi graciously went on to thank the Real Betis fans for their ovation after his latest Barcelona hat-trick.
Messi completed his 33rd LaLiga treble with an outrageous chip that beat Pau Lopez and clipped the crossbar to seal a 4-1 victory at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.
The Barcelona captain was rewarded by a stunning and unexpected response from the home fans, who showed their appreciation for a virtuoso display from the Argentina great.
“The truth is that I do not remember it [happening before],” Messi said to Movistar after scoring his 33rd LaLiga hat-trick.
“I am grateful for the response from the fans. Whenever we come to this stadium they treat us very well, very grateful and happy for the victory, which was very important.
“Great goals, but above all the important thing was to get the three points. It was a very good opportunity to increase the distance, we knew the Atletico Madrid result and we could not fail.”
An unbelievable side of the game was the fact that Barca had only 43.9 per cent possession, their lowest figure recorded since a very long time now.
“We played against a team that treats the ball well,” Messi added. “Tactically it was perfect and we did not suffer, just the opposite.
“We have to adapt, there are specific moments and games and we have to be prepared for everything, good things will come.”
His team is now very likely to easily defend their title after stretching their lead at the top of the table to 10 points, but Messi is taking nothing for granted.
“It depends on us, there is still nothing decided,” Messi, who set a record for playing in Barcelona wins, continued.
“We have a good advantage, but there are many points left and we have to play as usual without giving anything away.”