The Argentine has scored several wonder goals during his long career with the Catalan giants.
For football and football lovers, June 24 is no ordinary day, for it is the birthday of one of the greatest exponents of the game – Lionel Messi. The Argentine legend was born on this day 33 years ago – and till date, a million poets have waxed lyrical about the influence he has made on the sport.
With 699 goals and nearly 300 assists across 859 appearances for club and country, Messi’s numbers are matched or bettered only by a handful of other footballers. He also the only player ever to win six Ballon d’Or awards, and that further testifies as to why he is often referred to as the greatest footballer of all time.
The Argentina & FC Barcelona ace is currently only one short of reaching the 700-goal mark – and hence, it is obviously a monumental task to make a list of his best five goals. Nevertheless, as a token of our respect to the man who has deeply influenced our appreciation of the game, here are the top five goals scored by the Argentine magician.
5. FC Barcelona Vs Bayern Munich, Champions League 2014-15
This goal is not only one of the best goals of Lionel Messi, but it is also one of his most celebrated ones. He scored it en-route to a 3-0 win for his team in the first leg of the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League semi-finals held in Camp Nou.
After receiving the ball from midfield, he raced into Bayern’s penalty box, sidestepped Jerome Boateng and rendered him helpless before lofting the ball over Manuel Neuer with his right foot. It has been regarded as one of the best goals scored by any footballer in the Champions League.
4. FC Barcelona Vs Real Zaragoza, La Liga 2009-10
During a La Liga clash with Real Zaragoza on March 21, 2010, not only did Lionel Messi score one of his many hat-tricks, but he also scored a goal that would be remembered forever.
In the 66th minute of the match, he out-muscled ex-Manchester United star Ander Herrera to win the ball, skipped past another opponent and then ran towards goal. He further twisted and turned between two more advancing defenders before slotting the ball past the goalkeeper and into the bottom-right corner.
“Just lost for words,” one of the commentators said, while his companion added, “This man is brilliant. Georgie Best, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff – they’re all getting outshone by this incredible little man.”
3. FC Barcelona Vs Real Madrid, Champions League 2010-11
In terms of goal-scoring, Messi’s peak was in 2012 when he scored a mind-boggling 91 goals. However, Lionel Messi was also in excellent form in 2010-11, which was also one of Barcelona’s best seasons in the last decade.
When Messi himself recently named this Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid as his favourite-ever game, it was not surprising. The fact that he scored a world class goal is only the icing on the cake.
Lionel Messi first passed the ball to Sergio Busquets, who stood still over it so his teammate could collect the ball again. He then darted left and right as he made inroads into Los Blancos‘ penalty box, going past Raul Albiol, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos before calmly prodding the ball to the far post.
Real Madrid’s Lassana Diarra reacted to the initial threat by raising his hands, and that was a sign of things to come as the goal paved the way for Barcelona’s entry into the UCL final for a second successive season.
2. FC Barcelona Vs Athletic Bilbao, Copa del Rey 2014-15
Messi’s goal against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final in 2015 is another example that proves that he has truly mastered the art of scoring solo goals. This was only a few weeks after the incredible performance against Bayern Munich in the UCL, and that added to the charm.
With the score tied at 0-0 at 20 minutes into the game, Lionel Messi sparked into life. Picking the ball up near the halfway line, he dribbled past three Athletic Bilbao defenders near the touchline before running in, sidestepping another player and firing an unstoppable shot past the goalkeeper at the near post.
1. FC Barcelona Vs Getafe, Copa del Rey 2006-07
Last year, in a poll conducted by FC Barcelona, the fans voted this goal as the best goal ever scored by Lionel Messi. Although the match was won by Getafe, it will forever be remembered for being one of the earliest instances of Lionel Messi showcasing his genius on the pitch.
Just 19-year-old at the time, Messi started a run from the half-way line, dribbled past four defenders and an advancing goalkeeper before proceeding to lob the ball slighly over two other defenders who were guarding the goal. Clearly, it was a sign of things to come from him, and 13 years later, we are only happy that we get to see more of him every single day.