Just the Facts: Focus on the failures of Lionel Messi

By July 03, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Messi's debut anniversary – Barcelona great's finest goals across 15 years at Camp Nou Messi's debut anniversary – Barcelona great's finest goals across 15 years at Camp Nou

    On October 16, 2004, Lionel Messi got his first taste of competitive senior football for Barcelona, coming on as a substitute for Deco against city rivals Espanyol.

    Few watching at the time could have imagined quite what was to come from the Argentinian maestro, who has gone on to become arguably the greatest player of all time.

    Messi's influence at Barca has become unrivalled, scoring 604 times to become their all-time leading scorer.

    Fittingly, the 15th anniversary of his Barca debut comes on the same day he was presented with the European Golden Shoe for last season, and we have looked back at 10 of his very best goals in action for Barcelona.

    Albacete (H): May 1, 2005

    Even at 17, Messi had the confidence of a veteran. Having already had one goal wrongly ruled out for offside - an audacious chip from the edge of the box - Messi's focus was far from knocked and just a minute later he latched onto Ronaldinho's scooped pass before lobbing the ball over Albacete stopper Raul Valbuena from 16 yards. Some way to open your account for one of Europe's great clubs.

    Getafe (H): April 18, 2007

    In the 14 years since Messi first got on the scoresheet, one strike stands out as the best: his Diego Maradona-esque solo goal against Getafe. Messi picked up the ball in his own half and danced around two players before turning on the pace, beating two more defenders and going around the goalkeeper, capping it with a right-footed finish.

    Real Zaragoza (A): March 21, 2010

    Described by some as 'a defining goal' in his career, Messi's strike against Real Zaragoza seemed to take him from 'very good' into another class entirely. Messi displayed all he had to offer in this goal, which began when he won the ball from a tackle on halfway. From there, he shrugged off one challenge, raced towards the box and turned a defender inside out before drilling the ball into the far corner, leaving coach Pep Guardiola speechless.

    Athletic Bilbao (A): April 27, 2013

    Barca were in the midst of a Champions League semi-final shellacking from Bayern Munich when they arrived at San Mames. A goal down in a match that would eventually finish 2-2, Messi received possession from Thiago Alcantara, twisted past Mikel San Jose, Carlos Gurpegui and Ander Herrera with minimal space in which to operate before nonchalantly sidefooting home from just inside the penalty area.

    Cordoba (H): December 20, 2014

    Messi rounded off a 5-0 procession at Camp Nou with a frankly absurd piece of technique. Cordoba defender Jose Angel Crespo made glancing headed contact with Jordi Alba's searching cross from the left that might ordinarily have averted danger. But Barca's star man pulled the ball down with his left foot, swivelled 180 degrees and crashed right footed past Juan Carlos at the goalkeeper's near post.

    Bayern Munich (H): May 6, 2015

    Having already opened the scoring three minutes earlier to give Barca a 1-0 advantage over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, Messi doubled his tally with a sumptuous effort. Ivan Rakitic's pass sent Messi on his way, before the little maestro's trickery put Jerome Boateng on his backside and allowed the Argentine to casually lift the ball over the onrushing Manuel Neuer.

    Athletic Bilbao (N): May 30, 2015

    The second part of a treble-winning season for Barca came in the form of the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao. With 20 minutes gone and the score deadlocked, Messi set off on a marauding run down the right wing and soon found himself trapped among three defenders. Naturally, Messi was able to float past the trio as if they were not there, before cutting into the box and beating Iago Herrerin at his near post.

    Real Madrid (A): April 23, 2017

    El Clasico rarely disappoints for football fans around the globe, and this edition was no different. Anything but a win would essentially hand Real Madrid the title and it looked to be headed for a 2-2 draw until Sergi Roberto's swashbuckling run in the 92nd minute gave Jordi Alba the chance to square it to Messi, who finished with aplomb from the edge of the area for his 500th Barcelona goal.

    Real Sociedad (A): January 18, 2018

    Over the past few years, Messi has really mastered the art of free-kick taking, with the skill being one of few to elude him in his younger days. This strike in a 4-2 LaLiga triumph at La Real last January showed just how far he has come, as he lined up a set-piece about 35 yards from goal and coolly curled it into the top-left corner, wrapping up victory for Barca, who had fallen 2-0 behind. 

    Real Betis – March 17, 2019

    We have become so accustomed to Messi's brilliance that he makes the extraordinary seem normal, but his hat-trick clincher in March's 4-1 win at Real Betis was pure genius. After receiving a cut-back from Ivan Rakitic, he caressed a first-time chipped effort over Pau Lopez and in off the crossbar from about 18 yards when shooting through a crowded penalty area looked an impossibility.

  • Messi presented with sixth Golden Shoe by young sons Messi presented with sixth Golden Shoe by young sons

    Lionel Messi has been presented with the European Golden Shoe for the sixth time, extending his own record as another incredible LaLiga campaign was recognised on Wednesday.

    Messi earned the award, which is given to the player who scores the most league goals across Europe's top divisions, by finding the net 36 times in 34 LaLiga appearances in 2018-19.

    His efforts helped Barca to successfully defend the LaLiga title as he claimed the Golden Shoe for the third successive season. 

    The Argentina superstar was presented with the Golden Shoe at a ceremony in Barcelona, where his sons Thiago and Mateo handed him the latest trophy in a career laden with them.

    "It is the most important competition. If you are not good in this tournament, it will cost you the Champions League," Messi said on stage of LaLiga.

    "Thank you all. My family, managers, colleagues, all who have helped me to be here today."

    With six Golden Shoes to his name, Messi has two more than Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the award four times, last doing so in 2014-15.

    Messi has endured an injury-affected start to the 2019-20 campaign and has scored only once so far this term.

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