Messi scores his 50th free kick goal as Barcelona look to return to top of La Liga

The Argentine great added another stellar strike to his collection but has some way to go to overhaul the all time record holder

Lionel Messi bent in a trademark breathtaking free kick in the first half of Barcelona’s La Liga game with Real Valladolid and set a personal milestone in the process.

Messi has now scored 50 goals direct from free kicks in his career.

The Argentina international’s strike was the Blaugrana’s third goal of the first half, following strikes by Clement Lenglet and Arturo Vidal.

Kiko Olivas had pulled Valladolid level after Lenglet’s opener, before Messi took over.

He provided a magical assist for Chile international Vidal’s second goal before putting the round ball in the top right-hand corner of the goal from 30 yards.

He went on to score another, from open play, in the second half before another assist, this time to Luis Suarez, saw Barca get five.

The 32-year-old’s goals were his 100th and 101st for head coach Ernesto Valverde.

Messi’s now has four goals in his last three games, after an injury-hit start to the season saw him miss four of Barcelona’s first six matches.

The limited availability of their talisman saw Valverde’s men get off to a rocky start, worryingly losing twice in their opening five fixtures.

The win over Valladolid sees them leapfrog one of the teams they lost to, surprise package Granada, and ascend to the top of the Primera Division table.

A total of 44 of Messi’s free kick goals have come in the famous blue and red stripes of the Catalan icons, with the remainder coming for his country.

Messi has been some way short of overhauling the leading free kick scorers of all time.

Former Lyon star Juninho Pernambucano banged home 77 in his career and fellow Brazilian Pele has been in second place having scored 70, with another member of the Selecao, Ronaldinho tied with Victor Legrottaglie on 66.

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Behind the South Americans sits David Beckham, who netted 65 goals from dead-round ball situations in a career that took in spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and England.

One soccer professional Messi may overhaul sooner than later has been the man in tenth place on the list, another Brazilian, Rogerio Ceni, who scored 59 in his career.

Ceni might claim his feat has been more impressive than the others on the list as he made his living as a goalkeeper for Sao Paolo.



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