Lionel Messi may have been placed fifth on the Ballon d’Or list this year, but not many other human beings can score two freekicks in a match the quality of which he did.
The Argentine magician masterminded a Barcelona victory away from home with two freekick goals and an assist in the Catalan derby as they swept aside Espanyol 4-1.
With the victory, Barcelona open up a 3 point gap in La Liga over Sevilla, moving to 31 points from 15 games.
Messi first struck in the 16th minute with an inch-perfect freekick after being fouled near the edge of the box, sending the ball curling into the top right hand corner past a despairing Diego Lopez.
Messi's overnight free-kick was a thing a beauty! pic.twitter.com/8lR67BAEcR
— TAB (@tabcomau) December 9, 2018
He then teed up Osumane Dembele in the 26th minute to score Barca’s second on the night, before Luis Suarez’s tight angle finish put daylight between the two teams heading into the break.
What a goal man. Messi w the dribbles and Dembele w the amazing finish 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/nn0bRowAsk
— MadLionel10 (@MadLionel10) December 9, 2018
However, there was more to come from Messi as he turned on the magic once again in the 65th minute, producing yet another beautiful freekick that dipped past the wall and into the top corner, leaving the Espanyol keeper clawing at thin air yet again.
Coming after the controversy that followed Ballon d’Or’s classification of the Barcelona player and Pele’s insinuating comments that he’s only got ‘one skill’, Messi’s performance against Espanyol is what many consider to be the perfect response.