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Messi ties record of free kick goals



There is no doubt that Lionel Messi has rewritten the history of soccer and especially of FC Barcelona, the Argentinian leads the club in several statistics such as goals, assists, matches played by a foreigner, and total titles, tied with Andres Iniesta with 26. Messi is undoubtedly the greatest player to have played with the blaugranes, and recently added another record to the collection. The free kick goal in the Catalan derby against Espanyol was particularly special for Leo because it meant that he tied the record of free kick goals in the history of the club.

This record was in the hands of Ronald Koeman, the current manager of Southampton, who played in the club between 1989 and 1995. Despite being a defender the Dutchman was a free kick specialist, mainly due to his potent outside shot. In six seasons with the club Koeman played 264 games among all competitions and scored an impressive 88 goals, 23 of these were scored from the free kick line.

Messi has been a first team member since the 2004-05 season, nonetheless Messi only took his first free kick shot in the 2008-09 season. The reason was that there were several players ahead of him like Henry, Xavi and Ronaldinho, but since then Messi has kept practicing and has become one of the best in world in this area of the game. This season particularly has been an exploding one for Leo in this specialty, since he has already scored seven direct free kicks so far, including two in the European Supercup game against Sevilla, an accomplishment never seen before in this competition.

The shooting styles of Messi and Koeman couldn’t be more different, while Ronald went for power and speed in his shots, Leo tries to adjust the angle as much as possible and prioritizes placement over strength. Despite these two styles being so different there is no doubt that both of these players had a unique skill. On a final note even if Messi surpasses Koeman in this category, the Dutch defender will always be remembered before him when fans think of free kick specialists. This is due to the fact that a free kick goal by Koeman gave Barcelona their first UEFA Champions League title in the extra time final against Sampdoria in 1992.
Sphamandla Ntshokotsha

Sphamandla Ntshokotsha

Staff writter

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