One of the most impressive things about Lionel Messi’s career is his ability to adapt his game as he gets older. In the beginning of his career he was all about dribbling and attacking. While he certainly has those skills in his arsenal still, he’s amazing free kicks to his repertoire as well.
Nothing shows that more than the last three matches he’s played in. He’s managed to scored a free kick in all three. Not only were they not your garden variety of free kick, but they were all extremely important at the time.
Coming off the winter break, Barcelona opened with the first leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 16 away to Athletic Bilbao. The Blaugrana was 2-0 down and looking to be in trouble. Up stepped Messi to score a vital goal to close the aggregate to one goal heading to the Camp Nou:
On the weekend, Barca faced another tough away test against Villarreal. It was a dysmal match that looked all but certain for the club to lose. That is until Messi again came through in the clutch to tie the match with a inch-perfect free kick in the 90th minute:
Finally, in the second leg of against Athletic with the aggregate knotted up at 3-3 in the 78th minute, Messi once again put Barcelona on his back and scored a free kick that mesmerized the Bilbao goalkeeper and sent the Camp Nou into rapture and Barcelona into the quarterfinals of Copa del Rey.
This graphic shows that Messi has increasingly added the free kick to his array of weapons to score goals with.