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The six-time Ballon d'Or winner scored his 21st free-kick in La Liga over the past five seasons to open the scoring and notch his 650th Barcelona goal in the 20th minute.
It was a huge win for Ronald Koeman's side and as they saw out the closing stages, Messi's contributions were so valuable.
One clip in particular of him holding onto the ball late on has been doing the round on social media.
Receiving the ball on the turn, Messi's body position is perfect and his balance, close control and ability to change direction is nothing short of sublime.
Messi did so well at holding possession to close out the game last night. Most press resistant player itw pic.twitter.com/LxBxwz8tOK
- MC (@CrewsMat19) February 1, 2021
Lionel Messi vs Athletic Bilbao pic.twitter.com/hTuUZK8u2T
- Thiago :wolf: (@HMDComps) January 31, 2021
A couple of Athletic Bilbao players carelessly chase after him but they simply cannot get near him. When Messi picks up the ball in that area, it's genuinely not worth pressing him because even in the tightest of spaces, he'll keep possession with ease.
It's so casual but yet so wonderful to watch from the Argentine. In the end, a frustrated Mikel Vesga has enough and can't help but commit a foul against Messi and give away a cheap free-kick.
The general consensus is that Messi hasn't been at his imperious best but his showing against Athletic dispels the myth that his levels have dropped.
After all, he's scored 16 goals in all competitions despite playing in a pretty poor Barca side.
Meanwhile, there's been controversy involving Messi this week as his £492 million Barcelona contract was leaked.
Both the player and club are set to take legal action against El Mundo, the newspaper who published the story, while Koeman has said any Barca employee involved in the leak should be sacked.
"Whoever published this had bad intentions and wanted to cause Barca damage," Koeman said.
"But we have to be united and focused, we have to forget about whatever has been published.
"Without Leo we couldn't aspire to win very much. We have known for a very long time that he is the best player in the world, he has done so much for this club and is decisive. We have to respect everything Messi has done.
"If this was someone from the club they cannot have a future here."
In a statement released, Barcelona said they "categorically deny" any involvement in the publication of the document.
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