On Thursday August 5th 2021, the footballing world was left scrambling. After 21 years, 672 goals, 34 trophies and countless memories, Barcelona announced publicly that Lionel Messi was to leave the club. Despite reaching a contractual agreement, Barcelona and Messi were to part ways due to new La Liga Financial Fair Play rules. Considered by many (including myself) the undisputed best player in the world, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was caught off guard by the news of his own departure, the end of an era for football. And so to celebrate his stellar time in Barcelona, I have made a selection of Messi's 10 best goals with the Blaugrana shirt.
10. Messi's Champions League Winning Header vs Manchester United (May 27, 2009 - Barcelona 2x0 Man Utd in the 08/09 Champions League Final)
Although this is not necessarily one of Messi's most technical goals, it is still one of his most iconic. One of Messi's relatively few headed goals, it comes from a ball retained by Xavi on the right half space of the pitch. Messi sees the space behind Manchester United center-back Rio Ferdinand inside the box, and Xavi places a perfect cross onto Messi, who goes far up into the air to put it into Van Der Sar's bottom left corner.
9. Messi Chip vs Sevilla (17 March, 2012 - Barcelona 2x0 Sevilla in the LaLiga 11/12 season)
For this one of Messi's classic chips, he receives the ball from Iniesta on the left edge of the box and proceeds to nutmeg the Sevilla defender into the box before chipping Javi Varas with his left foot across the goal in spectacular fashion.
8. Messi's first professional goal vs Albacete Balompie (May 1, 2005 - Barcelona 2x0 Albacete in the LaLiga 04/05 season)
His first of 672 goals for Barcelona came in a 2x0 win over Albacete in 2005. After making a run in behind the defender and receiving a wonderful over-the-top through ball from Ronaldinho, Messi chips the keeper first-time, marking the perfect beginning to his illustrious goal-scoring record for the club.
7. Messi 35-yard free-kick vs Liverpool (May 1, 2019 - Barcelona 3x0 Liverpool in the 18/19 Champions League Semi-finals)
Exactly 14 years on from his first goal for the club, Messi celebrated by scoring a wonder-strike free-kick against Liverpool in the Champions League. In a tough game, Barcelona were awarded a foul 35-yards (32 meters) from the goal. Messi hit it directly and with an inwards-swerve it slotted perfectly into the top left corner of Alisson's goal, indefensible, to put Barcelona 3x0 up in the first leg.
6. Messi Leaves Boateng On The Floor vs Bayern Munich (May 6, 2015 - Barcelona 3x0 Bayern Munich in the 14/15 Champions League Semi-finals)
Perhaps one of Messi's most famous goals and most iconic dribbles, this goal helped pave the way for Barcelona's appearance in the 14/15 Champions League Final. Messi receives the ball outside the box and drives in facing Boateng. He then dribbles past Boateng onto his right foot, causing Boateng to fall onto the floor in a career-defining stumble, before Messi chips Manuel Neuer with his weak right foot into the back of the net.
5. Messi Lobs Szczesny vs Arsenal (8 March, 2011 - Barcelona 3x1 Arsenal in the Champions League Round of 16)
After a great through pass from Iniesta, Messi is left one-on-one with the keeper, Wojciech Szczesny, before lobbing him and finishing into a near-empty net to open the scoring and continue Barcelona's journey to another eventual Champions League title that season.
4.Messi's solo goal vs Real Madrid (April 27, 2011 - Barcelona 2x0 Real Madrid in the 11/12 Champions League Semi-finals)
Continuing their run in the 11/12 Champions League after defeating Arsenal and Milan in the Round of 16 and Quarter-finals respectively, Barcelona faced Real Madrid in the Semi-finals. The game was defined by one moment: Messi's solo run. After Busquets leaves the ball in Messi's path, he is able to dribble past four Real Madrid players before finishing across-goal into Casillas' net. It remains as one of his most iconic goals, especially due to its context.
3. Messi's Edge-of the-Box Chip and Standing Ovation vs Real Betis (17 March, 2019 - Barcelona 4x1 Real Betis in the LaLiga)
One of the most recent entries in this top 10, in a hat trick performance away from home to Real betis in the 18/19 LaLiga season, Messi scored one of his most genius goals to date. Messi himself begins the play by giving the ball to Rakitic on the left of the box. Rakitic then lays it back to Messi who, from the left edge of the box, hits a first-time chip across the goal, touching the bar lightly and ending up in the opposite corner of the goal. This then led him to receive a standing ovation from the opposition fans, marking one of the best performances in his career.
2. Messi's Solo Goal vs Athletic Bilbao (30 May, 2015 - Barcelona 3x1 Athletic Bilbao in the 14/15 Copa Del Rey Final)
Runner-up in the 2015 Puskas Award, this goal is another of Messi's most famous. Having received the ball in the right flank just past the midfield line, Messi decides to go alone. He finds himself in between three Bilbao defenders, and yet with quick feet manages to evade tackles and get past all three of them on the right, just before getting past a fourth and entering the area. He then evades a last tackle by cutting onto his left foot, and finishes in the near-post in a very tight space, a truly anthological goal.
1. Messi's solo goal vs Getafe (April 18, 2007 - Barcelona 5x2 Getafe in the Copa del Rey Semi-finals)
The first spot on this list could belong to none other than Messi's solo goal vs Getafe in the 06/07 Copa del Rey. Almost identical to Maradona's wonder-goal in the 1986 World Cup final vs England, it defines Messi's true capability on the pitch. He receives the ball from Xavi in around the same position as his goal vs Bilbao, only attacking on the other side of the pitch. He then proceeds to make an incredible run, getting past every defender on his way with his remarkable dribbling, driving and entering the area, getting past the goalkeeper and finishing with his right-foot from a relatively tight-angle. It was this goal that truly opened the eyes of the footballing world to its new incomparable talent: Lionel Messi, the greatest football player of our generation.