Lionel Messi overtakes Cristiano Ronaldo in key stat with Barcelona free-kick vs Granada

  • Kobe Tong

Lionel Messi was at the top of his game for Barcelona on Saturday night.

Ronald Koeman only needed to deploy his star player for 65 minutes during the La Liga trip to Granada for him to exact the necessary damage, scoring twice in a fantastic first-half display.

The stage had been set for Messi to run riot at Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes by his fellow forward Antoine Griezmann, who opened the scoring in the first 15 minutes with a lethal finish.

Messi's free-kick vs Granada

But even that moment of predatory instincts from Griezmann couldn't hold a candle to Messi's remarkable strikes, which are amongst the best he's scored in the 2020/21 campaign.

Up first, the 33-year-old wrapped up a fantastic Barcelona move that flowed from one end of the pitch to the other with a devastating finish past the reach of Rui Silva and into the top corner.

Then, Messi went one better with his second of the night, ending what has been something of a goal drought for him from free-kicks with a sumptuous conversion on the goalkeeper's side.


Messi back in business

Aside from Messi's glorious free-kick against Osasuna in July, we hadn't seen the Barcelona star ripple the net in this fashion since he scored two in one game versus Celta Vigo in late 2019.

That might not sound all that anomalous, but it is when you consider that Messi scored free-kicks on a nearly-monthly basis during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns with a crazy 15 conversions.

A massive reason behind that has been the sort of tactics that teams are now using to stop him with Granada even laying one of their players behind the ball to prevent Messi from shooting beneath it.


Messi surpasses Ronaldo

As a result, Messi had to come up with the tailored technique that saw him find the net and it seems fitting that the Argentine was able to secure a moment of history for his effort.

That's because Messi's second goal at Granada was his 48th free-kick goal in club football, which sees him overtake the tally of his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, according to ESPN.

It's an astonishing feat when you consider Messi had only actually scored four free-kicks in his professional career up until the 2011/12 campaign that famously saw him reach 50 La Liga goals.

What about career free-kicks?

Ronaldo, on the other hand, was arguably most prolific from a dead ball at Manchester United and early on at Real Madrid, having scored 24 free-kicks by the same point in his career.

So, a huge round of applause for Messi playing catch-up and being able to overtake the Juventus superstar, but there's still a little way to go if you include international free-kicks in the equation.

We won't see the free-kick supremacy entirely swing in Messi's favour until his current career tally of 54 strikes surpasses the 56 that Ronaldo has managed to muster with his two-year advantage.

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