Is Lionel Messi the greatest free-kick taker in the history of football?
Last month, the Argentine scored the 50th free-kick of his career before he notched a further two against Celta Vigo last week.
It brought up some rather incredible statistics.
In the last eight seasons, Messi has scored more free-kicks (29) than the top five free-kick scoring teams in Europe - Juventus (27), Real Madrid (23), Roma (21), Lyon (21) and PSG (20).
- Villa v Messi: When the Barca stars rowed during La Liga match
- The greatest XI of Villa's teammates in the wake of his retirement
- The number one player for all 29 attributes in FIFA 20
This season, his strike rate is a quite ridiculous 33.3% - one goal in every three free-kicks he’s taken.
So to celebrate Messi being quite incredible from set-pieces, we decided to treat ourselves and watch all 52 of his successful attempts.
But while we sat there shaking our heads in disbelief at some of his goals, we decided to rank them all from worst to best.
So, without further ado, here’s the list of Messi’s 52nd best free-kick all the way down to his best ever free-kick.
If you want to check out Messi's first 50 free-kick before his brace against Celta Vigo last week for reference, click HERE.
52 | Athletic Bilbao | 08/02/2015
A hefty deflection off the wall and a terrible attempted save from Gorka Iraizoz. Messi's 'worst' free-kick that he's scored.
51 | Atletico Madrid | 04/10/2008
Messi’s first ever free-kick goal - and it was a cheeky one. With Gregory Coupet setting up the wall, the Argentine took a quick one into the unguarded net. It was a match that saw Barca go 5-1 up inside 18 minutes!
50 | Athletic Bilbao | 04/02/2017
This is going down as another howler from Bilbao’s goalkeeper, Iraizoz. This time, from a tight angle the Bilbao goalkeeper somehow fails to keep Messi’s effort out.
49 | Mallorca | 24/03/2012
Did Messi mean this one? Probably not but they all count. Thirty yards out, Messi curled a lovely free-kick into the box that missed everyone and went in off the far post.
48 | Athletic Bilbao | 05/01/2017
You’d never believe it, it’s another mistake from Iraizoz.
47 | Olympiacos | 18/10/2017
A position in which you expect Messi to score from but, in truth, Silvio Proto probably should have done better in the Olympiacos goal.
46 | Athletic Bilbao | 20/04/2014
You’ll never believe it, it’s another Iraizoz error! This one isn’t quite as bad but he’ll feel he should do better. Messi is 20 yards out and smashes it hard. The goalkeeper just can’t deal with the power and lets it through his hands.
45 | Granada | 16/02/2013
Lovely curler over the wall but replays from behind the goal show the goalkeeper should probably do better.
44 | Espanyol | 30/03/2019
Free-kicks right on the edge of the box aren’t always easy. But Messi has got that little dink in his locker. The retreating defender can only head the ball into his own net.
43 | Athletic Bilbao | 11/01/2017
Guess who was in goal for this one. Yep, Iraizoz. But this time, we’re not blaming him. Messi looks set to curl one over the wall and the goalkeeper even takes a step to the right in an attempt to finally save a Messi free-kick. But the Barca star whips it to the goalkeeper’s left in off the post. We said we weren’t going to blame Iraizoz but that is his side…
42 | Sevilla | 11/08/2015
One of two free-kicks Messi scored in the 2015 UEFA Super Cup. This was in the ‘tough to get up and down’ area. But Messi makes it look easy with a lovely effort.
41 | Espanyol | 05/05/2012
A typical Messi free-kick. Twenty-five yards out, Messi curls it beautifully over the wall and into the back of the net.
40 | Sevilla | 06/10/2019
The defender even knows where the ball is going but can’t do anything about it. Messi must have scored a free-kick from that exact spot on the pitch on numerous occasions.
39 | Real Sociedad | 14/01/2018
A good 30 yards out but that doesn’t stop Messi from finding the back of the net. Not sure why the goalkeeper just stayed rooted to the spot, though.
38 | Leganes | 07/04/2018
Some people struggle to get the ball up over the wall and down in time. But Messi puts so much whip on it that the ball is almost on the ground by the time it reaches the goal, making it almost impossible for the goalkeeper to save.
37 | Nigeria | 25/06/2014
Twenty-five yards out, Messi curled a lovely effort over the Nigeria wall and into the back of the back at the 2014 World Cup. We’re not quite sure what Vincent Enyeama was doing, though.
36 | Celta Vigo | 09/11/2019
Probably not quite as good as the free-kick he scored earlier in the match but it’s still a brilliant set-piece goal.
35 | Alaves | 28/01/2018
I swear we’ve seen this free-kick before. A curled effort from the left side of the box, over the wall, and into the back of the net.
34 | Panama | 11/06/2016
So much curl. Glorious.
33 | Espanyol | 08/05/2016
Messi makes it look so effortless and he curls the ball out of the goalkeepers reach into the top corner.
32 | Celta Vigo | 09/11/2019
If you see the worlds ‘Messi scores a free-kick’ you expect to see a goal like this. Fantastic execution from the GOAT.
31 | Atletico Madrid | 26/02/2012
Another quick free-kick against Atleti. The execution of this is spectacular, though. Even if Thibaut Courtois was watching, he wouldn’t have been able to save Messi’s hook into the far top corner.
30 | PSV | 18/09/2018
This free-kick almost looks to be in slow motion. A delicate chip sees the ball curl into the top corner. Beauty.
29 | Sevilla | 11/08/2015
The second free-kick from the 2015 UEFA Super Cup. This one was a bit further out as Messi whipped his effort in off the post.
28 | Villarreal | 02/04/2019
Not your usual Messi free-kick. He’s only 20 yards out and decides to hit it a bit harder, although still using his in-step. He smashes it in off the post before the goalkeeper can react.
27 | Girona | 24/02/2018
Proof that Messi can score every type of free-kick. This time, he hits one UNDER the wall catching everyone out.
26 | Ajax | 18/09/2013
Despite going for the goalkeeper’s side, Andre Onana simply can’t deal with the power and Messi smashes it in off the post.
25 | Deportivo La Coruna | 12/12/2015
Just look at the reaction of the Deportivo player in the wall. He doesn’t even look to see if Messi’s free-kick is going in. He already knows.
24 | Almería | 06/03/2010
A unique technique from Messi. Very close to the edge of the box, he stabbed it over the wall and into the net.
23 | Alaves | 18/08/2018
Another cheeky one under the wall. You love to see it.
22 | Real Madrid | 07/10/2012
Your usual Messi free-kick. For any other player, it’s an incredible goal. For Messi, it’s standard. This came in El Clasico, though, so gets bonus points.
21 | Atletico Madrid | 04/03/2018
Textbook Messi. Has Jan Oblak scrambling.
20 | Sevilla | 22/11/2014
Beto knows Messi is going to go over the wall but he still can’t do anything about it.
19 | Dynamo Kyiv | 09/12/2009
A 22-year-old Messi scoring cracking free-kicks in the Champions League. This was a late winner as he whipped it in off the underside of the crossbar.
18 | Almería | 02/03/2014
Slightly further out than the majority of Messi’s successful free-kicks and, instead of whipping it to the goalkeeper’s left, he curls it beautifully to the keeper’s right.
17 | Sevilla | 28/02/2016
It’s amazing the amount of power Messi can generate using the inside of his left foot.
16 | Valladolid | 29/10/2019
Messi’s 50th free-kick, and it was a special one. His favourite range and his favourite execution.
15 | Betis | 05/05/2013
Messi’s favourite position to score a free-kick but, this time, he whips it right into the top corner. Fantastic strike.
14 | Espanyol | 08/12/2018
The first of two free-kicks Messi scored in this game. And it’s an absolute beauty.
13 | Espanyol | 08/12/2018
Diego Lopez couldn’t get anywhere near this one. The second free-kick Messi scored in this derby.
12 | Celta Vigo | 14/02/2016
A lovely position for Messi and he smashes a sidefoot into the top corner. The goalkeeper had no chance.
11 | Espanyol | 06/01/2016
Not a trademark Messi curler. Instead, he puts his foot through it as the bar smashes in off the underside of the crossbar.
10 | Deportivo La Coruna | 08/01/2011
The goalkeeper’s reaction makes it. Throwing his arm up in disgust at how good Messi is.
9 | Las Palmas | 01/03/2018
Twenty yards out - there’s simply no stopping Messi from that range. He opened his body and smashed this one powerfully into the top corner.
8 | Betis | 17/03/2019
Messi was on an absolute madness in this match, scoring a ridiculous hat-trick. This free-kick struck into the top corner certainly wasn’t bad.
7 | Paraguay | 08/09/2012
A good 30 yards out. Up and over the wall and in off the post. Perfection.
6 | Uruguay | 13/10/2012
Messi’s third ‘under the wall’ effort. But this is his best. Everyone expects a normal effort but he catches them all out as he drills it low into the bottom corner.
5 | Villarreal | 08/01/2017
Less than 25 yards-out, this was always ending up in the back of the net. Messi made sure of it by placing the ball as close to the top corner as possible. Postage stamp.
4 | Real Madrid | 29/08/2012
Not even the legendary Iker Casillas can get close to that 30-yarder. Incredible.
3 | Colombia | 15/11/2016
This is just filthy. Messi hooks it to the goalkeeper’s left, going in off the crossbar.
2 | Liverpool | 01/05/2019
An extraordinary free-kick in a Champions League semi-final against one of the best goalkeepers in world football. Amazing.
1 | USA | 22/06/2016
The greatest free-kick, Lionel Messi has scored so far in his career. We’re not even going to try and do it justice by describing it. Just watch:News Now - Sport News