Lionel Messi scored two sensational goals from free kicks for Barcelona in their 4-0 win over Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday night, as the Argentine proved he’s still a cut above the rest from dead ball situations.
Messi bagged twice from free kicks, one in the first half and one in the second half, as the Blaugrana went three points clear at the top of La Liga with victory over their Catalan rivals.
The forward’s brace now means he’s sitting on 17 goals from 17 games in all competitions this year, once again showing that even at the age of 31, he’s still one of the very best around.
One stat that emerged regarding Messi’s free kick ability following his exploits against Espanyol showed that he may very well be one of the best set pieces takers of all time.
As per journalist MisterChip on Twitter, Messi had scored 18 times from free kicks since January 2014 following his first against Espanyol, something that means he’s scored more from dead ball situations than any other club in Europe’s top five leagues apart from Juventus.
#OJOALDATO – Messi ha marcado 18 goles de falta directa en La Liga en los últimos 4 años (desde el 1 de enero de 2014 hasta hoy). En ese mismo período de tiempo sólo hay un equipo de las 5 grandes ligas que le iguale: la Juventus (también 18, pero con seis lanzadores diferentes).
— MisterChip (Alexis) (@2010MisterChip) December 8, 2018
However, there was still more to come from Messi in the match, as he scored from another set piece midway through the second half, meaning that he’s now scored more free kicks (19) than any club in Europe’s top five leagues since January 2014.
This is simply ridiculous when you consider the wealth of brilliant set pieces takers there are out there playing at the highest level in Europe.
It’s going to be interesting to how Messi’s ranked in the lists of best ever free kick takers once he finally hangs up his boots.
And, following his exploits on Saturday, we can presume he’ll deservedly be towards the very top of the list…