Lionel Messi: Graph reveals his first touch for all 648 of his Barcelona goals

Barcelona star Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi recently broke another record in a career that has seen him transcend into the realms of footballing immortality. 

The revered Argentine broke Pele's long-standing record for most goals scored at a single club, with his strike against Valladolid on 22 December 2020 representing his 644th for Barcelona.

Rather than rest on his laurels, Messi has continued to score at a prolific rate amid an impressive run of form that has massively reduced the pressure on Ronald Koeman's shoulders.

A pair of braces against Athletic Bilbao and Granada have now taken Messi's total to 648. 

Just about every possible piece of analysis has been done on Messi's rampant goal scoring record, but an intriguing graphic has now emerged that reveals a lot about the 33-year-old's style of play. 

Marius Fischer, a tactical analyst and football editor, has put together a graphic that pinpoints the exact location of where Messi took his first touch for each and every one of his 648 goals.

The yellow dots on the graphic are used to indicate where he started a mazy dribble, or perhaps where he simply slammed home a first-time effort. 

There's also an array of white dots, which are used to indicate goals scored from free-kicks, scattered around the graphic. 

Barcelona star Lionel Messi

What is perhaps most fascinating about the graphic, though, is the number of goals the 142-cap wizard has scored having taken control of the ball within close proximity to the halfway line. 

We've seen Messi embark on plenty of captivating dribbles during his time in the game.

Going off the evidence of the graphic, he has scored six goals from a position just around the edge of the centre circle, one marginally inside the opponents' half and another inside his own half.

If anyone had somehow been stuck under a rock or in a parallel universe for the last nineteen years, then this graphic would do a remarkably efficient job of illuminating what an extraordinarily devastating prospect Messi is with the ball at his feet. 

You can take a look at the graphic below: 

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Those with a sharp memory will recall the goal that started inside his own half, which was voted as Barcelona's greatest of all time, arrived against Getafe in a Copa Del Rey semi-final clash in 2007.

It was a wonder-goal that naturally drew parallels with the late Diego Maradona's individual effort of solo brilliance against England at the 1986 World Cup, and one that will remain etched into the memories of the Barcelona faithful. 

Now, then, who's going to do everyone a favour and make the compilation of all the goals Messi has scored that began close to the halfway line?

The world holds its breath. 

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