Lionel Messi has left each and every one of us shell-shocked at some point in his career.
That’s what makes him so special, right? The Paris Saint-Germain star is one of the those once-in-a-lifetime footballers that are only ever a few games away from doing something that blows your mind.
Maybe you were brought to your feet by his legendary goal against Getafe, maybe one of this hat-tricks against Real Madrid left you smashing rewind, but we’ve all got our special memory with a man who puts the ‘beautiful’ in beautiful game.
The genius of Messi
Now, it might sound like we’re just gushing here, but there’s method behind the madness because a lot of what makes Messi such a sight to behold comes down to just how inventive he is with his game.
So many of those: ‘what have I just seen?’ moments are born from times where Messi rips up the rulebook and beats defenders, defies goalkeepers and runs the midfield in ways you never knew were possible.
Sure, there are flashes of Diego Maradona in there and shades of Garrincha to boot, but we’d still bet pretty confidently that many supporters would be able to identify the very uniqueness of Messi’s dribbling and skills in isolation.
But if you still don’t believe us, if you still think we’re just blindly head over heels for the Barcelona icon, then allow us to show you one of the clearest examples of when Messi turned on the genius.
No, we’re not talking about the pass-penalty and no, we’re not talking about a random dribble that led down a cul de sac, but rather the most unique goal that Messi has scored in his career.
Messi’s Panenka free-kick
At least, in our opinion, that is, because we’re talking about the day that the seven-time Ballon d’Or score a set-piece so nonchalantly that it became known as the ‘Panenka free-kick’.
Cast your minds back to the simpler times of 2019 when Messi scored one of the most sumptuous free-kicks that we’ve ever seen in a 2-0 derby win over Espanyol at Camp Nou.
With the ball positioned just outside of the penalty area, the great man himself decided to shoot with such little power and so centrally that it’s no wonder it was compared to Antonín Panenka’s legendary penalty technique.
But that’s what makes it so special because when you watch back the goal – which isn’t without its imperfections, granted – you can’t help but bask in the sheer audacity and coolness from Messi.
Video: Messi scores ‘Panenka free-kick’ for Barcelona vs Espanyol
throwback to my first ever game at camp nou when i saw messi score this “panenka” free kick vs espanyol. also saw messi drop a defender and walk him like a dog right in front of me. i will never forget this day. thank you leo for dropping a masterclass in front of my eyes 🐐 pic.twitter.com/lTgEoEc8t3— Flacco (@messistaleo) July 6, 2019
Isn’t that just gorgeous?
A uniquely stunning goal
It really is like Messi was intending to sell the goalkeeper the wrong way somehow a la Panenka penalties in the way it just floats into the goal as though not an ounce of effort was exerted.
Plus, is it any surprise that it practically broke the internet in footballing terms? Your humble GIVEMESPORT writer can vouch for the fact that very few Messi goals have ever provoked a more viral reaction in the past five years.
Yes, yes, we know that it took a deflection off Victor Sanchez’s head before rippling the net and that Messi had previously used the same technique to score against Almeria in the past, but don’t pretend as though that it didn’t make you gasp the very first time you watched it.
And what matters most is that Messi found the back of the net and did so in a way that, in our opinion, perfected the ‘Panenka free-kick’ technique to levels we’ve never seen before.
If nothing else, it’s one of those most unique goals in Messi’s seemingly infinite catalogue and illustrative of exactly why it is we love the Argentine sensation.
Go on, Leo, serve us up at least one more before you retire.