Messi, a footballing icon turns 35 today and has already given us some wonderful goals to look at throughout his career

Messi, dribbling and goals is a constant thing at this point of time. The way he controls the ball and starts to dribble, you just know, he is going to go past defence in a flash. The amount of technical skills he has and the knowledge he possesses to know exactly what he has to do to get past a defender is beyond remarkable. He can score magical freekicks, unique penalties and can curl past the keeper from a long range. There is no such kind of goal that Messi hasn’t scored in his illustrious career till now. We will be looking at his top 5 goals for club and country to celebrate his 35th birthday.

5) Argentina vs Ecuador (2017)

It wasn’t more of the goal that made the cut, but the kind of performance Messi showed in that game just proves his class and ability. Ecuador and Argentina met in the final match of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers. Argentina needed nothing but a win to book their flight to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

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Messi stepped up for Argentina when the World Cup looked far from them 

Ecuador left hopes of Messi and Argentina hanging by a thread as Ecuador scored in the very first minute of the game. Messi had to take it upon himself to take his country to the World cup and he delivered for his side again. He scored a hat-trick for his side which all but confirmed their place at the World Cup in Russia. He scored multiple outstanding goals, but the third was one of the best. After finding the ball in space, Messi used his left foot to drive, cutting off two players before chipping the ball over the goalkeeper from outside the box. The fact that only Messi was able to chip the goalie from outside the box shows how unlikely players believe it to be.

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Messi’s hat-trick ensured safe passage for Argentina into the 2018 World Cup in Russia

4) Barcelona vs Bayern Munich (2015)

You instantly know which goal I am talking about here and it is the famous “Ankle break and chip” goal by Messi against Bayern Munich. In a Champions League semi-final against a superstar team coached by Pep Guardiola, to deliver like that in front of your home crowd is simply outstanding.

 

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Messi cut in between the legs of experienced defender Jerome Boateng to go one on one against the keeper

It was a stalemate till the 75th minute as both teams defended well and Guardiola would have taken a draw against his former team but as he very well knew, Messi was still on the pitch and he still had enough time to do the damage. He scored two goals that day against Bayern Munich and the second one was a world class goal. Ivan Rakitic received the ball in the 80th minute. As he looked over the field, he noticed Messi moving forward. Taking a step forward, the Argentine took up the ball and faced off against Jerome Boateng.Messi dropped the German defender to the Camp Nou floor with a perfectly timed feint because his deft footwork and quickness were too much for him. He then chipped the ball with his weaker foot over the head of Manuel Neuer to send the fans attending the match at the Nou Camp into ecstasy. He then went to celebrate with the fans and he knew the importance of that goal in the contest. It is one of the best goals that he has scored till date.

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Messi showed composure against Neuer as he chipped the ball over his head to score the goal

3) Barcelona vs Getafe (2006) 

This was the goal which made both the commentary and the goal simply out of this world. “Messi, Messi, Messi, encara.” These words can be recognised by anyone, Barcelona supporters or not. When a 19-year-old Messi dribbled past virtually the entire team en route to scoring one of his most famous goals, one that mimicked Diego Maradona’s “Goal of the Century,” the announcer could only mutter, “Still Messi,” which is translated to “Messi.” 

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Messi dribbled past almost the entire Getafe team in the quarter final game at Nou Camp

Barcelona were having a rather torrid season and needed a win in this Copa Del Rey Round of 16 game against Getafe to keep the hopes of a trophy alive. Unfortunately, Barcelona lost the game on aggregate but nobody remembers the game because of Getafe’s upset but for the brilliant goal Messi scored that day. He got the ball in the 28th minute from Xavi and started dribbling and cutting defenders from there on. He then outpaces the two of them before turning another defender. The defenders collide and fall to the ground. He continues running towards the goal, regardless of whoever is thrown at him. He dodges a slide tackle with a cut inside and keeps moving and is one-on-one with the keeper, where he cuts past him. With the tightest of angles, Messi slides and slips the ball into the back of the net. This is one of the most brilliant goals that has ever been scored on a football pitch and everytime we see Messi with long hair Messi, we will think of this game. 

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Messi then dribbled past the Getafe keeper to score from a tight angle and the crowd went crazy after this goal

 2) Barcelona vs Liverpool (2019)

The tie Barcelona fans would dread to remember but the goal by Messi in the first leg can’t be ruled out of this list for that reason. Messi is known for scoring free-kicks by curling it in from the edge of the box. But this was a spectacular goal by Messi against Liverpool at Nou Camp in the first leg of the semi-final of the 2018/19 Champions League. 

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Messi won the free-kick but people thought that it was too far for Messi to go for it.

The astounding simplicity, dedication to basics over flare, and brevity over savagery of Lionel Messi’s free-kick technique are what make them so beautiful. Messi’s goal against Liverpool in the 76th minute was a textbook example of geometric accuracy combined with artistic genius. It wasn’t the usual Messi free-kick and was around 30-32 yards from the goal. Liverpool set a tall four man wall to stop Messi from scoring. But Messi did what he knows best as he curled the ball from his left foot just past Joe Gomez who was on the extreme left of the wall and into the top corner of the net, even Allison had no chance of stopping that ball from going in. This goal gave Barcelona a 3-0 lead and fans around the world thought the tie was over but Liverpool made an improbable comeback in the second leg to qualify for the finals.

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This Messi goal ensured won the first leg of the tie by 3 goals to nil and have a signficant advantage in the tie.

1) Barcelona vs Real Madrid (2011)

Lionel Messi and performing in Champions League ties is arguably a better love story than twilight at this point. It was the El Classico in the 2011 Champions League semi-finals, and two of the best teams not only in Spain but in the world faced off for a place in the final. This was also during the peak of El Clasico when both teams had the best players in the world and the matches were filled with drama and controversy. 

 

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Messi dribbled past the Real Madrid midfield and defence to score this sublime goal

The match was filled with fights and dirty tackles as we expect all Clasicos to be and there was a fight in the dug-out for which Barcelona substitute Pinto was sent off. Pepe was also sent off for a dirty challenge on a Barcelona player and the game started to open up from there. Messi scored the first goal from a cross and then his sublime second to seal the game against Real Madrid. The ball is near Messi’s half-way line. He is facing Lassana Diarra alone. Busquets, who is still and isolating Diarra, receives it from him. Taking the ball from him, Messi starts to run.

He abandons Diarra behind, Sergio Ramos is fooled by him and Alvaro Arbeloa is pushed aside by him. He protects it from Marcelo and passes the ball past Iker Casillas as he drops to the ground. This goal silences the Santiago Bernabeu as they see a Messi masterclass unfold and it takes for everyone to process as to what happened. It is still arguably one of the best goals Messi has scored and ranks at top because of the kind of game that El Clasico can be.

 

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Messi with this goal silenced the Santiago Bernabeu and celebrated this excellent goal with his teammates

By these goals, you can simply know what kind of a freak Messi is, and the distance, time, speed doesn’t matter in Football if you have the right skill and know what to do at the right time.

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