A day before the awarding of the Best Fifa Men’s Player 2016, Lionel Messi gave the world another moment of magic as he helped Barcelona salvage a point against Villarreal with a postage stamp free kick in the 90th minute of the game.
Lionel Messi bent a stunning free-kick into the top corner in the 90th minute after Villarreal’s Italian forward Nicola Sansone finished off a breakaway to open the scoring in the 50th as they looked set to record a first home win over Barca in 11 years.
With the talented Argentine wizard having made dead ball opportunities his speciality over the years, HT looks at the best free kicks he has scored recently.
Villarreal v BARCELONA; January 8, 2017
The Catalans were staring at defeat going into added-on time before Lionel Messi stepped up to take the 25-yard free kick. Defeat would leave Barcelona six points behind leaders Real Madrid in the La Liga table.
As it were, the Argentine perfectly targeted the top corner of the goal, even beating goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo on the side he was protecting.
ARGENTINA v Colombia; November 15, 2016
The maestro hoodwinked Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina with a short run-up to strike the ball with ferocity from more than 25 yards out. The ball curved and dipped late as it clipped the underside of the crossbar on the way to the net.
United States of America v ARGENTINA; June 21, 2016
Lionel Messi converted from 25 yards to make an emphatic statement as he overtook Gabriel Batistuta’s 54-goal tally to become Argentina’s record goal scorer.
From the left of the penalty area, Messi curled past goalkeeper Brad Guzan with a strike that was later nominated for the Fifa Puskas Award 2016.
BARCELONA v Sevilla; February 29, 2016
With Barcelona trailing 1-0, Lionel Messi stepped up to take a free-kick just outside the box. He was reprimanded by the referee for placing the ball incorrectly and asked to take the ball a yard closer to the penalty area, giving him less space to get the ball over the wall and into the goal.
However, it did little to affect his plans as he perfectly picked out the far post. Goalkeeper Sergio Rico had expected him to go for the empty side of the net but the Argentine surprised him by striking the ball across the face of the goal.
BARCELONA v Sevilla; August 11, 2015
Lionel Messi converted two free kicks in one match for the first time in his career as Barcelona beat Sevilla in the Uefa Super Cup.
It was the first of his two strikes that was most impressive as he curled the ball into the near post top corner from the edge of the box, getting it to go over the wall and dip into the net with expert precision.