STATS CORRECT AS OF JANUARY 2017.
There’s not a lot Lionel Messi can’t do on the football pitch.
Indeed, the 29-year-old has broken just about every record there is to break since his debut for Barcelona in 2004, and in last night’s 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao he moved one step closer to another impressive feat.
After goals from Luis Suarez and Neymar put the Spanish giants 2-1 up, Messi was hacked down outside the opposition box with about 10 minutes left in the tie.
You can guess what happened next.
In typical fashion, the Argentine forward confidently stepped up and curled the ball into the bottom right corner, but this was more than your average Lionel Messi goal.
Messi’s strike from just outside the penalty area put him level with Barca legend Ronald Koeman on 26 free-kick goals for the La Liga champions, a record that saw the latter nicknamed “King of free-kicks” during his playing days.
Barcelona’s all time leading goalscorer now needs just one more free-kick to take the record for himself, and the Everton manager was quick to congratulate him on Twitter.
Impressively, the goal marked Messi’s third converted free-kick of 2017, and the 31st of his career.
Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, has only scored three free-kicks since 2015, highlighting the vast difference in quality from dead ball situations between the two.
Put in simpler terms – if Barcelona’s main man missed his next 241 free-kicks he would have the same free-kick to goal ratio as Ronaldo (who has a mere 1.3% free-kick conversion rate)
Ronny may have just cleaned up at FIFA’s Best Player awards ceremony, but there’s only one man you’d choose from just outside the penalty area.