PA Sport

Lionel Messi - 10 of the best

Lionel Messi - 10 of the best
By PA Sport

21/04/2017 at 11:08Updated 21/04/2017 at 11:13

Lionel Messi is two goals shy of reaching the 500-goal landmark for Barcelona.

Ahead of this weekend's El Clasico at the Bernabeu, where Messi could reach the milestone on the turf of Barca's arch-rivals Real Madrid, Press Association Sport looks at 10 of his greatest goals for the Catalan giants:

v Real Madrid - Primera Division, March 10, 2007

The Argentinian gave a glimpse of what was to come with a fine solo effort, touching Ronaldinho's pass into space before driving that famous left foot through the ball - which was parried into the net by Iker Casillas - for his hat-trick goal which secured a last-gasp 3-3 draw.

v Getafe - Copa del Rey semi-final first leg, April 18, 2007

A matter of weeks later, Messi's breathtaking individual brilliance led to a goal not too dissimilar to that of compatriot Diego Maradona's against England at the 1986 World Cup. Collecting the ball on the halfway line, Messi surged into the area, shaking off several challenges on the way, before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net.

v Zaragoza - Primera Division, March 21, 2010

After hustling the ball from Zaragoza's possession on the edge of their own half, the recently crowned Ballon d'Or winner drove at a back-pedalling defence, turned the last man inside then out before smashing low past Jimenez Gago Roberto.

v Real Madrid - Champions League semi-final first leg, April 27, 2011

Real Madrid were once again left cursing the man from Rosario as he bagged a brace - the second of which came after a trademark 30-yard burst which ended with a deft right-footed finish for a change - as Barca took a giant stride towards the final.

v Manchester United - Champions League final, May 28, 2011

Messi is not renowned for his aerial abilities - one of the precious few weak points in his game - but he literally leapt to the occasion on the grandest stage. With no one tracking his run, he steered his unmarked header from Xavi's cross past the helpless Edwin van der Sar to put Barca on the path to European glory.

v Atletico Madrid, February 26, 2012

From a position wide on the left of the penalty area, Messi took a free-kick that Atletico expected to be crossed into the box - instead he floated the ball over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, dipping it under the crossbar and just inside the post.

v Bayer Leverkusen, Champions League last-16 second leg, March 7, 2012

His fifth goal in the 7-1 trouncing was trademark Messi - a neat interchange followed by a low left-footed shot past Bernd Leno from the edge of the area. It was a landmark moment - the first time a player had scored five goals in a match in the Champions League.

v Sevilla - Primera Division, March 17, 2012

The little forward ran on to a short pass from midfielder Andres Iniesta, neatly nutmegged a defender with his second touch and then with his third dinked a delightful chip over onrushing shot-stopper Andres Palop and into the far corner.

v Getafe - Copa del Rey last-16 second leg, January 16, 2014

After shrugging off one challenge, Messi somehow exploited a gap through the middle of the park with archetypal panache before taking the ball past the keeper and slotting home to bring Getafe's defenders more anguish.

v Athletic Bilbao - Copa del Rey final, May 30, 2015

Seemed to run himself into a cul-de-sac on the right wing but left three Bilbao defenders trailing in his wake after finding a pocket of space, and when he was inexplicably shown onto his left foot he obliged to squeeze the ball inside Iago Herrerin's near post, putting Barca well on their way to victory.