Lionel Messi's 'Panenka free-kick' for Barca in 2019 is one of football's most unique goals


Lionel Messi is many people’s choice for the greatest male footballer of all time.

However, even if Diego Maradona, Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo or another legend are your GOAT of choice, then we can surely all agree that Messi is the finest male player in Barcelona history?

Messi has made more appearances than anyone else in the famous red and blue stripes across 778 outings and it’s no secret that his record-breaking 672 goals for the club blow away his forebears.

The GOAT of Barcelona

Marry that to winning four Champions League titles, 10 La Liga crowns and six Ballon d’Or plaques during his time in Catalonia and there’s simply no denying Messi’s number one status.

Sadly, though, the elephant in the room is that Messi no longer plies his trade at Camp Nou with the 34-year-old reluctantly having to leave the club in the summer due to their ongoing financial crisis.

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However, if there are any positives that we can draw from the book being closed on his Barcelona career, then it’s the fact we can look back at it with a greater degree of finality and perspective.

So, indulge us as we take a moment to celebrate Messi’s iconic time with the Blaugrana for a few minutes because sometimes there’s nothing better than picking a spectacular goal from his vault.

And as much as we could walk you through his wonder goal against Getafe or spectacular run in the 2015 Copa del Rey final, it’s often the hidden gems in his catalogue that are most worth revisiting.

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Messi’s iconic ‘Panenka free-kick’

Bearing that in mind, let’s rewind back to 2019 when Messi famously perfected what was widely branded as a ‘Panenka free-kick’ with a stunning goal during Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Espanyol.

The goal’s nickname really is justified, too, because the way in which Messi gorgeously floated the free-kick so deftly towards the centre of the goal truly was reminiscent of a Panenka penalty.

While it’s certainly not a goal without its imperfections, the sheer uniqueness and audacity of the strike makes it endlessly rewatchable, so be to sure to relieve the strike in all its glory down below:

Does it get more badass than that?

Perfect imperfections

So, sure, we’re well aware that it takes a deflection off Victor Sanchez’s head before finding the net and that Messi pulled off similar free-kick strikes beforehand against Atletico Madrid and Almeria.

However, not only did the Espanyol goal mark the moment that he perfected the ‘Panenka free-kick’ approach but come on, people, let’s not split hairs about such a beautifully audacious finish.

Like someone you love dearly, embrace the imperfections because if you didn’t stop in your tracks when you first saw Messi pull it off then we’re not sure that you’re human.


It might not rank amongst Messi’s greatest ever goals for Barcelona, but you can rest assured that it places amongst the most unique, spectacular and bold goals in football history, period. 

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