Lionel Messi has trained to 'sprain his ankle' when he's taking a free-kick

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There’s very little doubt that Lionel Messi is one of - if not the - greatest footballers to have ever played the game.

On the ball, the Argentine is unstoppable with his ability to dance past defenders, his unbelievable passing ability and his ridiculous goalscoring record.

But the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will also be remembered as one of the greatest free-kick takers ever.

The likes of David Beckham, Juninho Pernambucano and Ronald Koeman are always named by fans when answering the question: ‘Who is the greatest free-kick taker of all-time?’

But Messi’s name is also in the argument with the Barcelona legend scoring more than 50 goals from set-pieces during his career so far.

But you may not have noticed Messi’s interesting free-kick technique in recent years.

One man who has studied the science behind it, though, is Dr. Rajpal Brar. Last week. he joined Squawka’s podcast to discuss the free-kick technique of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.

And he revealed how Messi has trained his body to essentially sprain his ankle when taking a free-kick.

“When Messi strikes the ball, he shifts his hip to the right. He really moves his hips to the right as he’s striking to open up his left strike leg,” the doctor said.

“And what that does on his plant leg is that it shifts all the weight to the outside of the foot. So then when he follows through and he’s striking the ball - that left leg coming from left to right - now everything is going onto the outside of his ankle almost like what happens when you sprain your ankle.

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We call it ‘inversion sprain’ when it twists inwards - it’s that same force. You have all that force on the outside of your ankle and it twists inwards. But in Messi’s case, he’s trained himself and his body to control that motion.

Remarkable.

Next time you see Messi step up to take a free-kick, just take a look at his right foot just before he takes it.

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