Lionel Messi: PSG star used La Liga referee to beat an opponent in 2016 Barcelona game

  • Kobe Tong

Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest dribbler that football has ever seen.

Garrincha, Diego Maradona and countless other legends have mastered the art of close control, but many consider the Paris Saint-Germain star to be the finest to ever leave a defender bamboozled.

After all, there is almost as much as pleasure in simply watching clips of Messi leaving three or four adversaries for dead in a row as there is watching the greatest goals that he’s ever scored.

Messi’s dribbling brilliance

It’s a similar feeling to the enjoyment you get out of watching an engrossing magic trick because the ways in which Messi fools his opponents are reminiscent of sleight of hand.

And for the most part, there is nothing particularly fancy or unique about the way in which Messi goes about his best dribbles other than the fact that the ball appears to be glued to his feet.

There are very rarely the types of step-overs or chops that you associate with Cristiano Ronaldo, but rather the slightest of feints and disguises that leave defenders tripping over their own feet.

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Messi vs Celta Vigo (2016)

However, although there is undoubtedly a joy that comes with the simplicity of Messi’s skills, we’d be lying if we said that we didn’t love the moments that he goes off piste with his dribbling magic.

And one particularly amusing example came during a very famous night in Messi’s career because it has come to be remembered for his iconic pass-penalty with Luis Suarez.

Yes, we are indeed talking about Barcelona‘s 6-1 win over Celta Vigo in February 2016 and astonishingly, Messi had more tricks up his sleeve than simply one of the greatest penalties ever.

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Messi using the referee to beat an opponent

That’s because some quick-thinking from the Argentine saw him use the La Liga referee to his advantage in order to beat Carles Planas with a remarkable dribble from which he almost scored.

With the match official getting far too close to the action, Messi was able to – intentionally or not – use him as a shield to maintain space from Planas before pushing off and causing carnage.

The extent to which it was all part of the plan can only be answered by Messi himself, but the fact of the matter is that he used the referee to his advantage and you can watch the moment below:

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A stroke of genius

The way in which Messi is able to respond to the unexpected presence of the referee so that Planas ends up on the other side, duly giving him all the space in the world is just so perfect.

And to think that he would later put the cherry on top by cheekily slipping the ball to Suarez from the penalty spot goes to show just how confident the Barcelona legend really was at this pomp.

It might not be the most famous moment in his career – far, far from it – but it says everything about Messi’s incomparable talent and legacy that even little moments like these are sparkles of genius.



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