Lionel Messi stepped up to level with a stunning strike in the last minute and save Barcelona from a damaging defeat away to an excellent Villarreal on Sunday.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner seems to have been practicing his free kicks over the break. He was already among the best in the world from dead ball situations, but the New Year’s barely a week old and he’s already notched two spectacular curlers.
His strike to fool Gorka Iraizoz at his near post in Barcelona’s loss to Athletic was brilliant, and he netted another beautifully unorthodox pearler to rescue a point for Barça against Villarreal.
It’s perfect. It’s struck with pace, and so impeccably placed that it freezes the goalkeeper where he stands. He can’t do a single thing but watch it fly by him, helpless as a newborn baby.
Barça weren’t good, but they missed some clear cut chances, and had a couple penalty shouts turned down, so Villarreal probably won’t feel too aggrieved to draw on the balance of everything.
If you miss the free-kick on TV, have a look here.
banglarkantho/09 January 2017/A.H Sina