On a wet, wild night in Madrid there were six minutes left and somehow there were still no goals when Lionel Messi raised his arms to the right. There was a direct message. “Give me the ball.” It was like that. Just about everybody in the stadium knew what he was going to do as soon as he got it, but that didn’t mean they could stop him. He raced foward, away from Thomas Partey, away from Saúl Niguez and rolled it at the edge of the area into Luis Suárez. The Uruguayan did what he needed to do there and gave it up right away. Messi bent it into the far post for the first time, beyond Jan Oblak’s dive.
Barcelona beat Atlético Madrid in that moment to return to the top of the table. There were 30 shots: they had returned from the line, from the post and from the goalkeepers. One had finally gone in now. . Barcelona didn’t have that easy, particularly not in the half-hour opening, but they had the victory. Messi was decisive, but Marc-André ter Stegen was also so.