Nicknamed the "Flea," Lionel Messi has won FIFA's highest honor as the Worlds Best Player three times. And all at the tender age of 24.
For a number of players and coaches, this past weekend was a tale of woe and one to forget -- as soon as possible.
* Fernando Quirarte decided to step down as Chivas coach in Mexico after the club's worst start in years.
* Paris St-Germain midfielder Javier Pastore suffered a thigh strain and could be sidelined for three weeks.
* Chelsea's Fernando Torres' personal scoreless streak reached 15 games.
* Ajaccio, which has Mexican international Guillermo Ochoa in goal, was embarrassed by and lost to a fourth-tier club in the French Cup.
* And Chicharito did not even get off the bench in Manchester United's win over Arsenal.
That's not to say there were outstanding performances and key goals that were scored.
A quick look on what transpired this past weekend:
The Spaniard's personal scoreless streak reached 15 games in Chelsea's scoreless tie with Norwich City on the road. Chelsea coach André Villas-Boas defended Torres.
"He worked really hard, we were happy with his play,” he said. “We can’t be hypocrites and not take into account what he did in the last game, against Sunderland when everybody praised him.
“He couldn’t find the back of the net but we are not just looking for that. He had a good couple of chances, and for you to have chances you have to position yourself to have those good chances and he was there present. With a little bit more luck he will find the back of the net."
Javier Hernández, Antonio Valencia
The news was good for Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck, not so good for Chicharito. Valencia, an Ecuadorean international, scored one goal and set up Welbeck's late score to boost Manchester United to a 2-1 triumph over Arsenal in the English Premier League. The win kept ManU within three points of first-place Manchester City.
Chicharito has been forced to take a back seat and a seat on the bench in light of United's and Welbeck's recent success. In fact, the Mexican international striker did not get an opportunity to play for MU at Emirates Stadium. Hernández has not has not scored in 250 minutes over seven matches. He has not found the back of the net since a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Nov. 27, his only home goal this season.
Valencia tallied in the 46th minute and set up Welbeck for his third goal in as many matches and ninth of the season in the 81st minute, which broke a 1-1 draw.
The Colombian turned a free kick into a goal, but it was not enough for Wigan Athletic, which dropped a 3-1 decision to Queens Park Rangers.
The Spaniard created two goals within a three-minute for Manchester City in its 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Silva set up Samir Nasri in the 56th minute and his corner in the 59th minute led to Joleon Lescott's goal.
Lionel Messi, Alexis Sánchez, José Rondón
Messi converted a hat-trick and a rare header for the Argentine and Alexis Sánchez, a Chilean, scored to led Barcelona to a 4-1 win over Málaga in La Liga. It was only his 10th total in 216 goals for Barca. Messi leads the league with 22 goals, one more than Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Rondón, a Venezuelan who came on as sub, scored a late goal for Málaga.
Radamel Falcao, Diego Simeone
The Colombian recorded a hat-trick for Atletico Madrid in its 4-0 La Liga win over Real Sociedad. Falcao converted an early penalty kick and sealed the win with a pair of late goals. Atlético has accrued seven out of a possible nine points since former Argentine international Diego Simeone took over as coach.
“We’ve been working for a while with the previous coaches and with the new ones to try to improve ourselves at home,” Falcao was quoted by Marca. “This result gives us peace at last but we must keep our feet on the ground because we have not met our targets and are still outside the European places. We want to take it game-by-game and take each one as a challenge.”
Sometimes you’re good and sometimes you’re lucky. Guardado, who has been very good for Déportivo La Coruña this season, turned out to be one fortunate midfielder for the Spanish Second Division club. The Mexican international’s cross that was sent in the penalty area turned into an own goal, which boosted Déportivo to a 1-0 win over the Villarreal B team.
Guardado got possession of the ball on the left flank and sent a low cross into the area for Xisco. However, he could not find the handle of the ball, so to speak, as the ball hit Frenchman Florian Lejeune, who knocked the ball into the back of the net for the lone goal of the match in the 76th minute.
Guardado was involved in two scoring chances in the second half. With the second half barely 40 seconds old, he drilled a shot right to Villarreal goalkeeper José Marino. With time running out in the 89th minute, Guardado set up Xisco, who fired a shot from the edge of the penalty area that Marino saved.
The Argentine midfielder and playmaker could miss up to three weeks after suffering a thigh strain in Paris St-German's 4-0 French Cup win over Sable-sur-Sarthe. He will have an MRI that will determine the extent of the injury. "He has a problem, we must wait to see what he's suffering with after examinations," coach Carlo Ancelotti told the media. "I hope he recovers soon."
The Argentine scored an insurance goal in the 81st to give Lyon some breathing room in a 2-0 victory over Fourth Division Vendee Lucon in a French Cup match. Lopez finished a counter attack with a right-footed blast as Lyon reached the round of 16.
After winning four consecutive matches in all competitions, Ajaccio and the Mexican international goalkeeper suffered the embarrassment of becoming the first Ligue 1 to be eliminated from the French Cup. Ajaccio lost to Bourg-Peronnas, which plays in the fourth tier in France, 3-2, in extratime.
The Peruvian striker converted a rebound of a shot by Zhi-Gin Lam in the 86th minute to spare Hamburg a shutout in its 5-1 Bundesliga loss to defending champions Borussia Dortmund. The winners joined Bayern in first place.
Fernando Quirarte, José Sand
The Sheriff is gone. Fernando Quirarte, nicknamed the "Sheriff" resigned as Guadalajara coach after the club's worst start to a Mexican First Division season. After dropping its third consecutive game, a surprising 2-0 defeat to Tijuan, Chivas is in last place in the Clausura stadnings.
Quirarte, a former Mexican international striker, announced that he had quit, handing in his resignation to sporting director Rafael Ortega after the game at Omnilife stadium. “I’m stepping aside because I haven’t reversed the results and because I love this club," Quirarte told reporters. "I hope the person who comes [in my place] can do what I couldn’t."
Quirarte was named coach of the Goats in October in the second half of the Apertura, the opening leg of the Mexican soccer season. He guided Chivas into a playoff position before the Goats were upset by Queretaro in the quarterfinals.
Sand, an Argentine striker, scored both Tijuana’s goals as the club climbed into first place with seven points, ahead of Santos Laguna on goal differential.
The Argentine scored a spectacular goal in the 31st minute but Melbourne Heart could not hold the lead against Brisbane, which secured a 1-1 tie. Melbourne defender Aziz Behich nut-megged Besart Berisha and crossed the ball to forward Alex Terra. Terra took a scissors kick shot that defender Mohamed Adnan blocked. However, Germano headed the rebound home. Berisha connected for the equalizer off a header in the 69th minute.