Messi adds unwanted first to remarkable record as Barcelona brace counts for nothing

Messi adds unwanted first to remarkable record as Barcelona brace counts for nothing

Lionel Messi has ended up on the losing side after bagging a brace for the first time in his stunning Barcelona career.

The Argentine is accustomed to being the man charged with the task of providing an attacking spark for the Blaugrana.

He is, however, not used to being left empty-handed when delivering on his side of the deal.

Messi certainly did his bit for the Barca cause in their most recent outing against Real Betis, with the 31-year-old returning to action after recovering from a broken arm.

He was thrust straight back into Ernesto Valverde’s starting XI, and netted twice in a thrilling contest at Camp Nou.

His efforts ultimately counted for nothing, though, as Barca ended up on the wrong end of a shock 4-3 scoreline.

Messi recorded his first strike of the day from the penalty spot in the 68th minute, helping to half Betis’ advantage at that stage.

The visitors were, however, to net on two more occasions before Messi – after seeing Arturo Vidal find the target and Ivan Rakitic shown a red card – grabbed his second in stoppage-time.

That contribution proved to be scant consolation for Barca as they failed to take anything from a game in which their mercurial skipper netted twice for the very first time.

While Barca were unable to build on the efforts of their captain, Messi is enjoying another productive campaign on an individual level.

His double against Betis means that he now has nine La Liga efforts to his name, with that return enough to have him sat alongside club colleague Luis Suarez at the top of the scoring charts.

He has 14 goals across all competitions in 2018-19, from just 13 outings, while his overall tally during a record-setting spell in Catalunya stands at 566 in 650 appearances.

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