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The world's greatest footballers - but who's the best?

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Messi’s 20 Best Goals (Videos)

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Lionel Messi is one of the greatest goal scorers of all time, having bagged an incredible 465 goals in just 593 career appearances for both club and country (excluding club friendlies) at the time of writing.

Unsurprisingly then, it’s been a particularly arduous (yet immensely enjoyable) task trying to select Messi’s 20 best goals from his extensive collection.

We like to think we’ve done a pretty good job though, as our list showcases Messi’s very best and most famous goals, from dribbling masterclasses and exquisite lobs, to perfectly placed free kicks and his trademark edge-of-the-box curlers.

So sit back and enjoy as we take you through the remarkable goalscoring career of one of the beautiful game’s greatest ever players.

1) 2005 La Liga vs Albacete

What a way to start the list. Leo’s first goal in his debut season (not his debut match as some would have you believe) was executed with the composure of a seasoned veteran. He even did it twice, but the first one was given offside, and this video shows them both (the actual goal is at 1:50).

Some bloke called Ronaldinho with the assist for both the disallowed and legit goals there. You might have heard of him.

2) 2007 La Liga vs Getafe

This is perhaps Messi’s most famous goal of all, as it was the one that really announced him to the world and confirmed his place as one of the world’s best at the tender age of 19. An incredible solo effort worthy of the world’s undivided attention, this goal got even more publicity due to its similarity to Maradona’s goal against England at the 1986 World Cup. Watch them both side-by-side – the likeness is remarkable!

3) 2007 La Liga vs Real Madrid

Another special landmark moment for a 19 year old, scraggly-haired Lionel Messi. His first hat-trick for Barcelona came not just in any game, but in El Clasico against arch-rivals Real Madrid. Pretty incredible! Go to the 2 minute 40 seconds mark to see the 90th minute hat-trick goal.

4) 2007 Copa America Semi Final vs Mexico

Messi didn’t take long to endear himself to Argentinian fans either. At 20 years old, playing in his first Copa America he scored this quite sensational lob against Mexico – in the semi-final no less.

5) 2009 Champions League Final vs Man Utd

Again, not one to go missing on the big stage, Messi sealed the win in his first Champions League final appearance against reigning champions Manchester United. A wonderful header for a man of his modest stature, Leo judged the ball’s flight perfectly to leave both Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar utterly helpless.

6) 2009 La Liga vs Malaga

Here Messi shows his all round ability as he collects and beats his man with some magnificent chest control, before dribbling into the box as his lightning feet completely bamboozles the Malaga defence. Rather good.

7) 2010 La Liga vs Real Zaragoza

Skip to 0:28 for the action here. Leo shows his deceptive strength to win the ball just inside the opponent’s half – he then leaves a defender for dead with some astonishingly quick feet before turning another defender inside out and finally firing past the ‘keeper with absolute assurance. Definitely one of his best.

8) 2010 La Liga vs Valencia

This goal against Valencia was the first of three 2nd half goals, and was another that truly justifies the moniker of Messi the magician. He receives the ball with his back to goal and surrounded by 4 Valencia defenders – Leo then manages to outwit each of them with some quick turns and deft touches before firing home.

9) 2011 Champions League vs Arsenal

The speed of thought displayed by Messi here is quite staggering. As the goalkeeper rushes out, Leo deftly chips the ball over him before calmly knocking the ball into the net. He makes it look SO easy!

10) 2011 Champions League Semi Final vs Real Madrid

Another day, another wonderful solo goal for Lionel Messi. But this wasn’t just another day, and it certainly was no ordinary opponent. This was a Champions League semi final against arch-rivals Real Madrid. Their world class defenders can’t get anywhere near him as he sprints with the ball from near the half way line, before slotting the ball past the world class Iker Casillas – whose reaction says it all. It’s not fair is it, Iker?

11) 2011 Champions League Final vs Man Utd

Anyone getting déjà vu here? It’s another Champions League final against Manchester United, and once again Messi does not disappoint on the big stage. Messi’s strike can be seen around the 1:47 mark as he picks the ball up in a non-threatening position, and turns it into a threatening one in mere moments. Again, van der Sar is left helpless as Messi powers one past him from outside the area.

12) 2012 vs Brazil

2012 was a fantastic year for Lionel Messi, and this goal was one of the many highlights. Although just a friendly, Argentina vs Brazil fixtures always have a huge amount of pride riding on them, and this time it was a superb hat-trick from Lionel Messi that gave the Argies the bragging rights. His hat-trick goal (at 1:57) was an absolute gem as he dribbles from near the half way line before curling an unstoppable strike into the top corner. Widely regarded as his best goal in Argentina colours and understandably so.

13) 2012 Champions League vs Bayer Leverkusen

We’re cheating a bit with this one by giving you 5 goals for the price of 1. A tremendous feat in the knockout rounds of the Champions League. If we really have to pick one though, we’re going to plump for goal number three (0:55), a truly exquisite lob with his not-so-trusty right foot. Not bad for a “one-footed” player, eh?

14) 2012 La Liga vs Atletico Madrid

Lionel Messi’s scored a fair few free kicks in his time, but none quite as special as this one. From that angle, it barely looks possible for a left-footer to curl one into the opposite corner over a helpless keeper – but that’s precisely what he did.

15) 2012 Spanish Super Cup vs Real Madrid

He’s scored a few against Real Madrid hasn’t he? Another free kick here, albeit rather different to the last one. From 35 yards out, he hits the ball clean-as-you-like, bending it round the wall and beyond the goalkeeper. A wonderful strike.

16) 2013 La Liga vs Athletic Bilbao

Another exceptional display of intricacy here as Messi shimmies his way through three defenders before firing home just inside the 18-yard box – his close control here is nothing short of mind-boggling. Yet another fine solo goal from the maestro.

17) 2014 World Cup vs Iran

This World Cup group game against minnows of the footballing world, Iran, was on its way to an agonising, goalless conclusion. Then Messi happened. It’s a real trademark Messi goal as he picks the ball up in a not-too-threatening position, before teasing the defender, cutting inside and curling a left footed strike around the keeper into the far corner of the goal. Fantastic strike and impeccable timing.

18) 2014 La Liga vs Granada

No individual thrills about this one, but it was a superb team goal and a huge landmark in Messi’s glittering career. Xavi’s long ball, Dani Alves’s first time volleyed cross and Messi’s headed finish combined to mark Leo’s 400th career goal for club and country – in just his 525th game.

19) 2015 Champions League Semi Final 1st Leg vs Bayern Munich

This one sent shock waves around the world. Messi had just broken the deadlock in a tense semi-final encounter with European giants Bayern Munich – he then floored Boateng with a touch of skill before lobbing the world’s best goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer.

20) 2015 Copa Del Rey Final vs Athletic Bilbao

Once again confirming his status as a big game player, Messi produced this outrageous solo goal in the 2015 Copa Del Rey final against Athletic. In true Messi fashion, he picks up the ball near the half way line, beats one defender, dribbles down the touchline, beats three more, dribbles into the box, beats another, and finally, beats the ‘keeper at the near post. One of his best.

What an absolutely remarkable list of goals. There are many more worldies that didn’t quite make the cut as well – not all that surprising for a player closing in on 500 career goals! If we left out one of your favourites, let us know in the comments below.

Hungry for more goals? Take a look at Ronaldo’s 20 best goals.

What do you think? Have your say…

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