Barcelona star Lionel Messi's smartest skills without even touching the ball

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All hail Lionel Messi.

Reports in Spain are suggesting that the Barcelona forward will receive his sixth Ballon d'Or in a matter of days, pulling away from Cristiano Ronaldo as arguably the greatest in history.

While most players embark on a steady decline in their thirties, Messi has been able to hold his own against the next generation of superstars and shows no sign of stopping.

The Argentine astonishingly scored 51 goals across just 50 outings in 2018/19, as well as nine goals in 12 games so far this season, and bagged a sixth European Golden Shoe.

That's not to mention his 10th La Liga crown, the UEFA Club Forward of the Year trophy and FIFA's 'The Best' award in 2019 alone.

Messi's greatness

But for today, let's forget about statistics. Data might be the most objective way to show greatness, but Messi's brilliance will always be in the nature of his playing style. 

It's a fact that has led to innumerable compilations populating YouTube, showing various tropes to Messi's greatness from finishing, dribbling and more.

They're fantastic ways of proving certain points, whether that's refuting Pele's criticism of Messi's right foot or disproving that he struggles against certain teams.

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Messi's skills without touching the ball

However, one of our favourite montages has been piled together by YouTuber 'MagicalMessi' this week and the fact it's amassed 2.3 millions views in five days suggests we're not alone in loving it.

Titled: 'The Smartest Skills Without Touching The Ball - Lionel Messi,' it shows an interesting side to Messi's technical repertoire that is absent from some of the flashier highlights videos out there.

Rather, this shows how Messi can bamboozle defenders, fool goalkeepers and create opportunities for his teammates without laying a toe on the ball, just as the title suggests.

Some of the skills have to be seen to be believed, so check out the full compilation here:

Sometimes, you've just got to applaud the genius of the man.

When Pele rounded the Uruguay goalkeeper with a glorious dummy at the 1970 World Cup, it was heralded as a ground-breaking skill, but now Messi has elevated the trick to a whole new level.

Now, Messi is using body-language trickery to channel Barcelona's tiki-taka football, improve the passes of others and carve spaces in the penalty area that otherwise wouldn't open up.

And that's not to mention the pure brilliance of going one-on-one with a goalkeeper and planting him on his backside with a mere shimmy. 

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There's even the suggestion that Messi faked an injury to help score in a game against Hercules and in fairness, the footage implies that he was up to something.

But question Messi's intentions all you like, the fact of the matter is that the Barcelona star can do more without touching the ball than some players when they can.

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