Sport stars have few peculiar preparations and in football, Argentine legend Lionel Messi has a couple of his own. Messi was at his best as Argentina faced Ecuador in the quarterfinals of the ongoing Copa America 2021 on Saturday night at the Estádio Olímpico Pedro Ludovico, in Brazil.
The talismanic forward was the architect of Argentina’s first two goals, one of which featured a no-look pass to give his team a 2-0 lead. He then capped off the memorable night by finding the back of the net in injury time converting a direct free-kick to book Argentina a place in the semi-finals with an emphatic 3-0 win.
Earlier in the game, Ecuador gave Argentina a tough fight even though the South American nation ended the tie with 10 men after Pedro Hicapie being sent out just before the full-time whistle. However, prior to stoppage time in Goiania, VAR was examined after a penalty appeal for Argentina was made and the final decision was given as a free-kick on the edge of the area.
Messi just happens to be one of the best free-kick takers in the world and the Argentine began his familiar ritual. There couldn’t have been a finer demonstration of just how well Messi prepares before his free-kick after footage from the match emerged and soon became the talk of the town on social media.
The Barcelona skipper can be seen carefully putting the ball on the floor, moving it from side to side to see and twist it several times, before stepping back and calmly standing over the ball. The level of concentration and attention to detail show’s what’s required to be so lethal.
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Moments later, unperturbed by Ecuadorian goalkeeper Hernan Galindez carefully assembled human wall, Messi surveyed and resurveyed the angles, before he put the ball past Galindez in the top right-corner to make it 3-0.
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Only Messi will know exactly what must be going through his mind before he dispatches the ball to the back of the net. However, the free-kick against Ecuador was the legendary forward’s 58th for club and country, which also moved him one past his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.