Hartlepool's Rhys Oates scored a goal worthy of Lionel Messi vs Maidenhead

What a goal by Rhys Oates!

There aren't many better sights in football than a player scoring a wonderful solo goal.

A footballer dancing through the opposition's defence before slotting the ball past the goalkeeper? It really is poetry in motion.

Lionel Messi has made that his forte over the past 15 years or so and other players struggle to do it quite like the Argentine genius.

But every so often, a footballer scores a solo goal worthy of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and that happened on Saturday afternoon in the fifth-tier of English football.

Hartlepool's Rhys Oates was the man who provided the moment of magic in a 4-2 defeat for his side against Maidenhead United.

In the 29th-minute of the National League game, with Hartlepool 1-0 down thanks to a goal from Danilo Orsi-Dadomo, Oates decided to emulate Messi to equalise.

The Hartlepool striker drove towards the edge of the box, somehow made his way through a crowd of four Maidenhead players, produced a silky roulette inside the box to deceive another defender and then fired the ball into the net with his right foot.

It's a goal that simply has to be in the running for the 2021 FIFA Puskas Award and you can watch the strike in all of its glory in the video below.

Oates' stunning solo goal

That is absolutely outrageous from Oates.

The skill, balance and composure from the 26-year-old really was befitting of Messi and it's a real shame that Hartlepool failed to go on and secure victory after the goal.

Maidenhead's Sam Barratt made it 2-1 nine minutes after Oates' memorable strike, the first in a hat-trick for the 25-year-old winger.

The visitors actually had Ryheem Sheckleford sent off before Barratt's final two goals of his treble, making the final 4-2 result even more frustrating for Hartlepool fans.

Their dreams of winning the National League this season are now over, but at least supporters will always be able to cherish the memory of Oates' Messi-esque solo goal.

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