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In Preparation for the Manchester City Clash, Let's Watch Lionel Messi's Best Champions League Goals

The Barcelona star owns the record for most Champions League goals. But which one was his best?

Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Here are the first 71:

Now his hat trick against APOEL (#72, #73 & #74) And here's His latest effort against PSG (#75)

Which are the best? I would highlight...

Barcelona 2-0 Manchetser United
Champions League Final
2008-09 Season

"He’s not very good with his head." So the tale went about Messi, who was sometimes compared unfavorably to United’s Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s fitting he would score the decisive 2-0 goal with his head after a superb cross from Xavi. Messi may not score many in the air due to his lack of height, but he proved he had leaping ability and accurate skill.

Barcelona 4-0 Stuttgart
Round of 16
2009-10 Season

Barcelona drew the first game 1-1 and needed to put in a good performance to advance. Messi ensured Barca would be in the driver’s seat with a beauty in the 13th minute. He dribbled into a shooting position, and as four defenders collapsed on him, let fly. The ball sailed past the keeper into the top corner. He would score again as Barcelona would win comfortably.

#22, #23, #24 & #25
Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal
2009-10 Season

Again, Barcelona would draw a tense first leg, needing a good performance in the second leg to continue in the tournament. Again, Messi delivered. He was a one-man wrecking ball, firing four past the hapless Arsenal keeper as the Catalans cruised to a 4-1 win.

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal
Round of 16
2010-11 Season

Sorry Arsenal. Barcelona would put in a middling performance in the first leg, losing 2-1 at the Emirates. In that game, Messi scored a goal that was probably legal but called out for offside. The return leg had debatable decisions, too, with Robin van Persie receiving a controversial second yellow card for timewasting. But those were distractions to the real spectacle, Messi’s first goal in the second leg. He flipped a ball over the keeper and thumped a volley into an open net. He would also score a penalty as Barcelona would advance with a 4-3 aggregate win.

Barcelona 2-0 Real Madrid
2010-11 Season

A controversial couple of games if there ever was one, but it was settled by a moment of genius from the Argentine magician. Both sides had reason to complain about the refereeing, and both did so in numbers: the referee was mobbed by both sides. The mistakes and controversies are too numerous to analyze here, but again, the real spectacle was the goals. He broke the deadlock first with a daring run to redirect an Ibrahim Afellay cross, but his second will live on as one of the all-time great Clasico and Champions League goals. Around the center of the pitch, Messi played a quick one-two with Sergio Busquets and sprinted past Madrid’s midfield. He evaded both of the centerbacks, and shrugged off a tackle from Marcelo. Before Sergio Ramos could get a recovery tackle in, Messi’s shot crossed up Iker Casillas and rolled into the back of the net.

Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United
Champions League Final
2010-11 Season

Again the opponent in the final was United, and again Messi scored an important second goal. This time, the Red Devils had drawn level through Wayne Rooney after Pedro had put the Catalans in front. Messi received a simple ball, charged forward, and unloaded a low, driving missile from outside the box. It glided past Edwin van der Saar’s reach and Barcelona were in control again. David Villa would add an insurance goal as Messi would win his second Champions League final.

#45, #46, #47, #48 & #49
Barcelona 7-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Round of 16
2011-12 Season

Messi would score a Champions League-record five goals in this match, which about says it all. Luiz Adriano would equal this record, but with the aid of two penalties and in the group stage. Messi’s finishing was ruthless. leaving the keeper with little option but to dejectedly watch the ball go past him time and again. Some would like to make it out as as if Leverkusen were a helpless team primed for a mega-thrashing, but they were not. That season, they had eliminated Valencia in the group stage, finishing second to Chelsea. They beat both Valencia and Chelsea during that time as well. They drew against Borussia Dortmund, the German champions that season. And they even beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in the Bundesliga just a few days before the game in which Messi scored 5.

#57 & #58
Barcelona 4-0 Milan
Round of 16
2012-13 Season

Barcelona had another poor first leg, losing 2-0 to a surprising Milan side. There was a lot of doubt in the side, but within 40 minutes, Messi had scored two long range golazos to put the series back on level terms. David Villa and Jordi Alba would complete the comeback.

#72, #73 & #74
Barcelona 4-0 APOEL
Group Stage
2014-15 Season

Messi would surpass Raul’s record with a right-footed hat trick. This was not a feast of great skill but it was pure predatory instinct. His first was a quick thinking redirect of a Rafinha shot that was destined to be saved. His second, a run through the defense stamped with a neat finish. The last goal saw him stand still as Javier Mascherano’s pass went right by him. Why? He knew he was offside. The ball rolled to Pedro, who cut it back to a now-onside Messi. He tapped in the goal. Vintage goal? Perhaps not, but showcasing the poacher’s side of his all-around game.

Now, tell us which one was YOUR favorite...

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