Lionel Messi is arguably the best free-kick taker in the world.
Despite trailing his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo by more than 20 free-kick conversions during his Barcelona prime, Messi has managed to turn the tide by really honing his skills in recent years.
In fact, the 34-year-old was able to usurp Ronaldo when he scored a glorious free-kick for Argentina at this summer’s Copa America tournament and it seems unlikely that he will ever be caught.
Messi’s free-kick excellence
The supposed world record held by Juninho Pernambucano perhaps borders on ambitious, but it’s pretty uncontroversial to say that Messi is pound-for-pound the best when it comes to free-kicks.
And as with anything in life, you don’t get to become so unerringly good at something without putting in hours and hours of practice, so Messi must really have put in the hard yards with his technique.
Besides, there’s not the bells and whistles of the ‘knuckle-ball’ technique that you see from Ronaldo or David Luiz, but just the simple curve and dip that nobody can seem to master better than him.
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Messi on Argentina duties
Nevertheless, football fans were given a rare glimpse into Messi’s practice this week when a video emerged of him taking free-kicks during Argentina training.
Reporter Roy Nemer shared footage, which is presumably from Argentina’s current camp for 2022 World Cup qualifiers, showing Messi taking three free-kicks in succession from around 25 yards out.
And the accuracy with which Messi could repeat his free-kick efforts was nothing short of superb, scoring his first two efforts and coming within inches of finding the top corner with his third.
Messi’s stunning free-kick training
Admittedly, a wall would almost certainly have blocked the first strike, which landed low into the bottom corner, but it would have taken 100 walls to stop the second conversion from finding the net.
Think we’re exaggerating? Ok, maybe slightly, but it really was a masterclass in free-kick taking nonetheless, so be sure to check out the master in full flow down below:
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Gosh. You really have to feel sorry for the Argentina goalkeepers.
Messi’s unerring accuracy
While it might seem strange that the world’s best free-kick taker wouldn’t be practising with a wall of any kind, it certainly didn’t seem to matter when it came to the second and third attempts on goal.
Besides, had that third strike nestled in the opposite top corner to the one that he found just a few seconds earlier, you could guarantee that the clip would have been shared around for years.
That being said, when you consider the pure skill, talent and concentration to even come close to pulling it off, it’s easy to see why Messi’s free-kick brilliance is going viral even when he misses.