11 times Lionel Messi stunned football fans with his brilliance during 2016

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Lionel Messi may not have won the Ballon d’Or this year, but it’s still been another outstanding 12 months for the player now widely regarded as the best of all time.

The Barcelona superstar will end 2016 as the leading scorer in Europe’s top five divisions - providing Zlatan Ibrahimovic doesn’t hit a brace against Middlesbrough on New Year’s Eve - after netting a magnificent 51 goals.

But Messi is so much more than a goalscorer. The 29-year-old is the total footballer and no other player has created more moments of magic since January.

There have been many occasions during 2016 that Messi has taken our breath away.

We’ve compiled a list of the 11 times he left us all gobsmacked with his brilliance.

Pass penalty v Celta Vigo

It was a brave move that ultimately paid off.

Messi decided to re-enact the famous Cruyff-Olsen penalty against Celta Vigo and it worked - just.

The pass was, in fact, intended for Neymar. Not that anyone will remember that in the future…

Free-kick v USA

Messi scored arguably his best ever free-kicks during the Copa American Centenario in the summer.

No goalkeeper in the world would have saved this effort.

Free kick v Colombia

When Argentina needed a hero against Colombia last month, to get their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign back on track, up stepped Messi.

He’s surely the best free-kick taker on the planet right now.

Solo dribble against Chile

Messi might turn 30 next year but he can still destroy waves of opponents with his remarkable dribbling ability.

This dribble against Chile was one of his best during 2016.

Solo dribble against Bolivia

Only Messi can face up against an entire team and see it as an opportunity to score.

He took the p*ss out of pretty much the whole Bolivia XI back in March.

Destroying Espanyol

Messi sets up two goals in a minute, each time dribbling past four Espanyol players.

Different class.

Killing Sevilla

Okay, so he didn’t score, but had he done so this would have gone down as one of his best.

Messi made a mockery of the Sevilla defence before firing over.

Just look at the speed of those feet.

Solo goal v Osasuna

Yet again, Messi makes it look too easy…

Using the referee as a shield

Messi is so good that he can even use referees as shields while dribbling.

Nutmegging a goalkeeper

Ever seen a player nutmeg a goalkeeper? Not with a shot, but with a dribble.

Now you have…

Overhead kick assist

One of the best moments in football during 2016: Messi sets up a goal with an overhead kick.

We’ve seen it all now.

Although all the time Messi around, it’s safe to assume we haven’t.

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