On June 30th 2020, Lionel Messi joined a very exclusive club. With a delicate Panenka penalty against Atletico Madrid, the six time Ballon d’Or winner became only the seventh footballer to score 700 professional goals.
With this extraordinary tally, it is difficult to narrow it down, but here are Lionel Messi’s ten most memorable goals.
Only 17 at the time, the much touted youngster (at the time) scored his first ever professional goal.
Collecting a lobbed pass from Ronaldinho, Messi lifted the ball over Albacete goalkeeper Raul Valbuena and into the back of the net. There is an element of symbolism to this goal, as many view it as Ronaldinho passing the torch to the young Argentine.
For many, this was the moment that turned skeptics into believers.
Messi picked the ball up in his own half, instantly skipped past two players, drove forward with the ball, took on two more defenders, rounded the goalkeeper, and slotted into an empty net. It was a near carbon copy of Diego Maradona’s goal vs. England in 1986, and many still view this as Messi’s best ever goal.
In his first Champions League final, Messi made sure it was one to remember. With 70 minutes on the clock, Messi leapt to head home Xavi’s far post cross to seal the trophy for Barcelona.
Messi himself has described it as his favourite goal.
Lionel Messi is El Clasico’s all time top goalscorer, and this one is likely the best and most important of the lot. Having already scored one nine minutes earlier, Messi picked up the ball from Sergio Busquets, accelerated forward, avoided challenges from Lassana Diarra, Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos, and Marcelo, before sliding the ball past Iker Casillas.
The brace sent Barcelona on their way to another Champions League final vs. Manchester United, and one that was also sure to be memorable for Messi…
After punishing them two years earlier, Messi returned to haunt Manchester United again. With the scores level at 1-1, Messi hit a powerful low strike from 20 yards past Edwin van der Sar. A beauty from David Villa 15 minutes later made it 3-1 as Barcelona won their second Champions League in three years.
Having failed to score against Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer a year earlier in the World Cup final, Messi took revenge in style.
After sitting Boateng down with some brilliant footwork, the Argentine lifted the ball over Neuer, just three minutes after he had given the Blaugrana the lead. The brace set Barcelona on their way to reaching their first Champions League final in four years, which they won 3-1 against Juventus.
Another fine solo goal to add to the collection.
In the 20th minute of the Copa del Rey final, Messi received a pass from Dani Alves close to the touchline. He then proceeded to surge forward, dribbling past four Bilbao defenders, before smacking it in at Iago Herrerin’s near post. Messi would later score a second in a 3-1 win that secured the trophy for Barcelona.
While Messi’s Barcelona career is near-perfect, his international career has come under question. However, he is Argentina’s all time top goalscorer – a feat that was sealed with an unbelievable 25-yard free kick against USA in the Copa America semi-final.
The goal put La Albiceleste 2-0 up in a game that they would go on to win 4-0 – with Messi registering two assists.
Perhaps best remembered for Messi’s iconic celebration, the meeting between Real Madrid and Barcelona on 23rd April 2017 was an enthralling one…to say the very least.
With Barcelona desperately needing a win over 10-man Real Madrid to keep their title hopes alive, the scores were level at 2-2 as the game approached the final whistle. Then, in the 92nd minute, Jordi Alba cut the ball back for Messi to sweep into the bottom corner, before running over to the Real Madrid fans to display the name on the back of his shirt.
In recent years, Messi has established himself as a set piece expert. And on May 1st 2019, Liverpool learned this the hard way.
Having put Barcelona 2-0 up with a tap in seven minutes earlier, Messi bent a stunning free kick into the top corner from 30 yards out. The wonder strike was Messi’s 600th goal for Barcelona, and won UEFA.com goal of the season.