How Lionel Messi became a free-kick genius
The Argentine has hit some headlines with his sensational free-kick goals. Bleacher Report's Richard Fitzpatrick explains how Messi had developped in this field.
Lionel Messi has scored total 39 free-kick goals with a record number of 24 came in the league. He has even scored a free-kick goal in THREE consecutive LaLiga matches. By the way, each of these goals are different in style.
Against Girona, Leo Messi emulated his old friend Ronaldinho by driving the ball under the wall. Against Las Palmas he used a little curle to hit the ball right in the top corner. Against Atletico he smashed the ball into the opposite top corner, being about five metres further from the goal. It's worth mentioning that the last goal could decide the outcome of the LaLiga title race.
In Messi's case, free-kick goals are not his 'trademark'. It's rather just another everyday skill in his repertoire. Prominent journalist from Spanish influential newspaper AS, Santiago Segurola has recently praises Messi's talent: 'I've seen him score free kicks with force, with dexterity, by hitting it softly, under the wall like a loco. Sometimes he even scores from a position that suits a right-legged player even though he is left-legged.'
What's more, Leo Messi is constantly seeking perfection. He has scored already five free-kick goals this year, having made 33 attempts on goals. He has a sensational 15% conversion rate which is twice as much as 6% average across Europe's top leagues. But there were times when Leo Messi used to struggle with taking free-kicks. Guess who helped him? Maradona himself!
Argentina former fitness trainer Fernando Signorini has recently opened up about how Messi managed to overcome this struggle. 'Back in 2009, Messi was very disappointed by his free-kick struggles. Then Maradona came, and, as always in a very affectionate and paternalistic way, said: 'Listen, when you strike the ball, don't take your foot back so quickly because she won't understand what you want to do.' It was fantastic advice because what he was saying was that the ball has feelings. For me, it is a piece of leather and air and nothing else, but it seems for geniuses like them it's something else."