Football News

Why one newspaper is refusing to recognise Lionel Messi’s incredible Panenka free-kick

By CJ Smith

Published: 18:18, 1 April 2019

Lionel Messi has only scored 30 La Liga goals this season, not 31, according to Spanish outlet Marca.

Most sources have credited the Argentine’s free-kick against Espanyol as part of a brace that secured a 2-0 win for Barcelona, but Marca, the Spanish representatives for the European Sports Media, have it down as a Victor Sanchez own goal.

Where does Messi stand in the Golden Boot race? Five things to know…

  1. Messi thought he had scored both goals during Barca’s 2-0 win over city rivals, Espanyol.
  2. However, Spanish outlet Marca ruled that his free-kick was in fact an own goal from Victor Sanchez.
  3. That deduction still leaves Messi three goals ahead of Mbappe in the European Golden Boot race.
  4. The Argentine is also 12 ahead of second-placed Luis Suarez in the La Liga scoring charts.
  5. Barca manager Valverde has admitted the cheek and style of Messi’s chipped free-kick caught him off guard.

Even without the opening goal during the Derbi Barceloni, Messi still sits 12 clear of teammate Luis Suarez in the La Liga goalscoring charts but in the European Golden Boot race, things are much closer.

Marca’s decision means the 31-year-old is now just three clear of PSG striker Kylian Mbappe, who 27 goals in Ligue 1 this season, and given Messi’s fierce competitve nature, he would surely be displeased if he were to lose out on the award by one goal.

Messi has been Europe’s highest top division goalscorer in five of the last 10 seasons and will have the chance to extend his lead in this campaign when Barca travel to Villarreal on Tuesday.

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Valverde: Messi free-kick caught me off guard

Whether he gets awarded with the goal or not, the style and cheek of Messi’s chipped free-kick against Espanyol was a wonderous sight to behold.

In fact, the nature of the goal was that unexpected, even Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was caught off guard by it.

“I had no idea what he was going to do,” Valverde told reporters after the match. “I’d love to say it’s something we plan but it’s not like that, he did not pay attention to me and scored a goal.”