The “Little Magician” Lionel Messi is quietly reaching the end of his fabled career. In recent times, Messi has by far been the best in the world when it comes to scoring from distance, particularly free-kicks. The curl he gets on his free-kicks despite minimal back-lift is a thing of beauty for fans of football. In this article, we will take a look at five of the finest free-kicks scored by Messi.
#5 Atletico Madrid 1-2 Barcelona, 26/02/2012
The only reason this free-kick does not top the list is because Courtois was caught napping. The game was poised well at 1-1 and Messi was preparing to deliver a cross from the left flank. The referee blew his whistle but Courtois was taking too much time to position himself and the wall. Messi smelt a chance and struck the ball with venom. Much to his dismay, Courtois saw the ball crash into the right corner from an impossible angle. Barcelona won the game, thanks to Messi’s flawless instincts.
#4 Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona, 29/08/2012
This wonderful strike is not as talked about as others in this list since it came during a low-key game. It was the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup and Los Blancos were leading 2-0 at the Bernabeu. Adriano was sent off for a foul on Ronaldo and all looked lost for Barcelona despite a 3-2 victory at Camp Nou. Just before half-time, Lionel Messi produced a moment of magic that completely silenced Bernabeu. From 30 yards out, he calmly placed the ball to the right of Casillas with utmost precision. In the end, this splendid goal was not enough as Real Madrid won on away goals.
#3 Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool, 01/05/2012
In the UCL semi-final first leg of the 2018/19 season, the pressure was firmly on Barcelona to beat Klopp’s ruthless Liverpool. Suarez opened the scoring for the hosts while Messi doubled the lead with a simple tap-in into an empty net. As the clock ticked down, Messi got a chance to take a free-kick far from the edge of the box. Alisson set his wall perfectly and something magical was needed to score a goal from that distance. What followed was one of the finest free-kicks scored by Lionel Messi as the ball curled into the top left corner beating Alisson.
#2 Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid, 07/10/2012
Casillas getting beaten twice from a dead ball situation by the same player within a space of two months is impossible, unless your name is Messi. In August 2012, Messi scored a free-kick to the right of Casillas and in October 2012 he took the opposite direction. All of this seems simple to read but to execute it at the highest level against a goalkeeper of Casillas’ calibre is a pipedream for most footballers. In this game, Ronaldo struck first for the visitors but Messi equalized soon. He then gave Barcelona the lead with a thunderous free-kick that thudded into the top right corner. Casillas gave the look a humbled yet bemused man as he knew it was the world’s best footballer that beat him.
#1 USA 0-4 Argentina, 22/06/2016
Topping the list of finest free-kicks scored by Messi is the worldie against USA in the semi-final of 2016 Copa America. Messi was the joint highest goal-scorer for Argentina at that point in time. Lavezzi scored early for Argentina and in the 32nd minute of the game Messi got a chance to take a free-kick. The ball was placed more to the left of the goalkeeper, not an ideal position to score for a left-footed player. But Leo almost scooped the ball into the top right corner, a truly miraculous angle. The beauty of this free-kick is the fact that even Messi looked surprised at what he has just done.