Regardless of whether you think Lionel Messi is the greatest player of all time, it’s undeniable that he has been one of the best players of the 21st century so far. With his magical left foot, electric pace, and mesmerising footwork, Messi has destroyed the best of the best in world football several times over and scored a ridiculous number of goals. But what are the best moments in the career of Lionel Messi so far? Here are our top eight.
8 best Lionel Messi moments
El Clasico Hat-trick (2007)
In 2007 Messi showcased his true potential on one of the biggest clashes in world football – in an El Clasico match against Real Madrid. In this edition of the heated rivalry, Messi scored his first-ever hat-trick for Barcelona bringing them level three times in the match. The final goal was a piece of magic and deep in stoppage time where he bamboozled two Real defenders and lashing in low past Iker Casillas. With so much on the line, it was the moment where Messi established himself as a cult icon at the Nou Camp.
Getafe Goal (2007)
Sometimes, the greatest goals may not look spectacular but it’s the fluidity of the move that seals its cult status. This certainly appeals to Messi’s strike against Getafe in the 2006/07 Copa Del Rey. Running from his own half, Messi jinked his way through five players in a move where he nutmegged one and a further left two on their backsides before slotting coolly past a helpless keeper. It was a move that was so iconic that Barcelona has since dubbed it the best goal in the club’s history and undoubtedly one of the best moments in the career of Lionel Messi.
Destruction of Arsenal (2011)
The Champions League has been a great showcase for Lionel Messi to showcase his talents and his performance against Arsenal in the 2011 second round was just another of his best moments. Having lost the first leg 2-1 to The Gunners, Barcelona were keen to make a statement. Messi did this moment into the first half running past two Arsenal defenders before chipping the ball over Manuel Almunia and then collecting and rolling it into the empty net. Messi would add a penalty later to the 3-1 haul and it served as a reminder to never doubt Messi’s destructive abilities.
5 goals against Leverkusen (2012)
It is quite uncommon to see a player score 5 goals let in a Champions League campaign but Messi did it in a single game against Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals of the 2011/12 Champions Leaguu. Messi scored 5 goals against the Bundesliga side with a host of classy finishes against a side that looked way out of their depth. It was the first time that any player had scored a five goal haul in the Champions League and a record-breaking year for Messi. One of the best moments in the career of Lionel Messi? Five of the best!
Breaking Muller’s record (2012)
Gerd Muller’s record of most goals in a calendar year looked untouchable until Lionel Messi came along in 2012 and smashed it himself. The Argentine winger scored with almost every shot he took for both club and country breaking records wherever he went. He scored 59 goals in La Liga – a new record at the time – in a 79 goal haul for Barcelona that year. If you add the 12 goals for Argentina on top of that tally – it took him to 91 goals for 2012 and a new record that is likely never to be broken again.
Saving Argentina (2017)
A World Cup without Argentina seems unthinkable but this almost happened in 2017 where they were struggling to qualify in a must-win clash with Ecuador. The home side even took the lead, sending panic stations across Argentina. Not for Leo Messi though. The country’s captain stepped up and equalised just 10 minutes later before adding another just before halftime. He rounded off the game with a beautiful chip to complete the hat-trick and send Argentina to the World Cup saving their blushes once again.
6 Ballon D’Or titles (2019)
The Messi vs. Ronaldo rivalry has been fascinating to watch over the last two decades and Messi took another step forward in the clash by winning his sixth Ballon D’Or award in 2019. The award is generally considered the most prestigious individual award in world football and both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo tied on five apiece before Messi’s triumph in 2019. There is still time for both players to add more to their collection so the rivalry between two of the all-time greats is far from over. Undoubtedly Lionel Messi would regard this as one of the most special moments of his career, however.
Breaking Pele’s all-time club record (2020)
Pele was previously generally considered the greatest of all time and his 643 goals for Santos looked like a record that would never be touched. Yet Messi broke this as he secured the record for most goals by a player for a single club with ease in December 2020, the final entry on our list of the best Lionel Messi moments. The goal against Real Valladolid was hardly his best but Messi’s 644th goal for Barcelona still heralded a major moment in world football. Messi has already crossed the 650 mark and could very well exceed the 700-goal tally by the time he retires.
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