Having recently cemented his place in the pantheon of football’s all-time greats, we look back on the career of Lionel Messi to pick out his top five greatest goals.
The legendary magician finally added the World Cup to his trophy cabinet at the 2022 edition in Qatar. Here, he became the first player to score in every round of the 32-team competition format. Yes, Messi now owns yet another record in his collection, too.
However, with nearly 800 career goals to choose from, Messi has a plethora of unbelievable strikes fit for any top-five list. Here are our favourites, though, ranked from five through to number one.
#5: vs Mexico – Copa America semi-final, 2007
Kicking off this top five from the maestro is an arguably underrated strike from Messi’s first Copa America.
The youngster became a stand-out performer for Argentina at this tournament. As a result, Messi picked up the young player of the tournament award – and also the goal of the tournament for this effort.
After receiving a pass from Carlos Tevez to the corner of the box, Messi spots the Mexico keeper off his line. Then, in a fantastic piece of ingenuity, he lobs the ball over the helpless Oswaldo Sanchez in net.
This type of finish became almost a staple of Messi’s game, but this is arguably the best of the lot. His strike helped Argentina reach the final of the 2007 Copa America. However, the Albiceleste lost to Brazil in the showpiece match.
#4: vs Real Betis – La Liga, 2018/19
Coming in at four on our list of the greatest goals from Lionel Messi is a sublime strike from 2019.
The fine details are what really make this goal a touch of class. The angle of Messi’s run-up to the ball which disguises his shot. How he perfectly connects with a pass whilst on the run, not even taking a touch before shooting.
Also, how the accuracy and weight of the chip allow the ball to glide through the air with just a hint of backspin to carry it under the bar but over the keeper. This goal is undoubtedly beautiful.
This outrageous chip from the edge of the box was the pick of the lot, though. Even the opposing fans were on their feet to applaud the genius that they had witnessed.
#3: vs Real Madrid – Champions League semi-final, 2010/11
“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. How good is he?”
Amazingly, this incredible solo goal from a Champions League El Classico sits just third on our list of the greatest goals that Lionel Messi has scored.
Picking up the ball near the centre circle from Sergio Busquets, the Argentine drives through the heart of the Real midfield. He leaves Lassana Diarra and Xabi Alonso in his wake as he bares down on the back four.
Messi then blasts past Sergio Ramos and Raul Albiol before slotting the ball home with his right foot. In just a matter of moments, he had torn apart Real to score one of the all-time Champions League goals. And what an occasion for it – a semi-final El Classico!
Barcelona’s talisman proved decisive in that first leg, scoring both in a 2-0 win at the Bernabeu. Following this, Barca went on to lift the trophy at Wembley.
In terms of dribbling and control, no one comes close to Messi’s irresistible quality in this highlight. Somehow, though, we rank two of his goals as even better.
#2: vs Athletic Bilbao – Copa del Rey Final, 2014/15
A finish worthy of any final, Lionel Messi produced one of his greatest goals in the 2015 Copa del Rey showpiece against Bilbao.
Receiving the ball near the halfway line, a body feint sent Messi racing along the touchline. But this forced him into a cul-de-sac; three defenders now faced up Barca’s No.10. That doesn’t bother Lionel Messi, though.
One touch inside beats one opponent, after which he beats the other two with one deft touch into space. When he reaches the box, Messi jinks back onto his left foot in order to unleash his shot. The Argentine’s low, whipped effort then beats Bilbao keeper Iago Herrerin at the near post.
Undisputedly the best goal in Copa del Rey Final history, it was written in the stars that Barcelona would win the game. Following this strike, which put the Catalans 1-0 up, Messi and Neymar both scored as they won 3-1.
The occasion, the close control, the balance and composure, the quality of the finish – this goal has everything. Despite this, it is arguably not Lionel Messi’s best-ever strike.
#1: vs Getafe – Copa del Rey semi-final, 2006/07
“Encara Messi, encara Messi, GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL!”
Although just a teenager, this goal was a sign to many that Lionel Messi would be an all-time great.
Messi’s jaw-dropping solo goal against Getafe earns the top spot on our list and even drew comparisons to Diego Maradona’s strike at the 1986 World Cup.
During this unbelievable run, Messi carves through countless Getafe defenders – and the goalkeeper – after starting from his own half.
Beating two defenders almost immediately, the Argentine arrows through his opponent’s half. When he reaches Getafe’s box, three more players try to stop him – but Messi will not be denied. He then shows fantastic composure at speed to shape his body as if to place the ball in the far corner.
Instead, though, Messi cuts past the goalie, leaving him helpless on the floor. Barca’s young star then puts the ball in with his right foot over a last-ditch block effort from a defender. There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe how sublime this effort was.
This strike also won the fan-voted award of Barcelona’s best-ever goal – a testament to its quality.
With one of the greatest goals the world had ever seen, Lionel Messi announced himself as a prodigious talent. He went on to have a pretty decent career, too.
What do you think of our list? Did we leave out any goals? Also, feel free to let us know who’s top 5 goals you would like to see next!
Featured image credit: Getty