How do you stop a Lionel Messi free-kick?
The Argentinian is not only the best footballer on the planet right now but he’s also pretty darn good at free-kicks, too.
And opposing teams know it.
Indeed, Sevilla deployed a tactic straight out of FIFA when Messi lined up for a free-kick for Barcelona on Friday night.
Barcelona won a free-kick on the edge of Sevilla’s box in the first half.
They had one defender lie on the floor behind the wall and another one run back towards his goal when the free-kick was taken.
The defender who ran back managed to get a head to Messi’s effort and prevented the ball from going in.
Sometimes, you just have to go to extreme lengths to stop the little magician.
Messi has worked on his set pieces over the years and it’s now hard to put any other player ahead of him in this department.
And what’s the secret? Well, he’s trained himself to ‘sprain’ his ankle when taking free-kicks.
Dr Rajpal Brar recently told Squawka podcast about Messi’s unique approach to free-kicks.
“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.
“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.”
He really is superhuman.
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