How To Successfully Defend Against A Lionel Messi Free Kick
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If you're like me, you've never found yourself standing in a wall facing a Lionel Messi free kick. But, unlike me, maybe someday you will. If this is the case, you need to mentally and physically prepare for the eventual moment when you stand facing down the left foot of one Lionel Andrés Messi, Esquire. Let's be honest, in this moment, you don't want something like this to happen to you.
Fear not. Since Messi has been on a free kick rampage in 2018, we have plenty of video footage to help you understand what you should and should not do. (To be honest, most of these examples fall into the "should not do" category.)
Some context is useful. So far in 2018, Messi has scored five free kicks. Three of these three kicks came in his last three consecutive games: on March 4th versus Atlético Madrid, on March 1st versus Las Palmas, and on February 24th versus Girona.
If you are generally unfamiliar with the normal human rate of free kick scoring, this is quite a lot. As a point of comparison, so far in 2018 I have scored zero free kicks. We have no reason to believe that: A) I will begin scoring free kicks in 2018, and B) Lionel Messi will stop scoring free kicks, ever. That is, unless you take to heart this article and prepare now for your future date with destiny.
Let's take a look at Exhibit A, Messi's most recent goal from a free kick versus Atlético Madrid. This also happens to be his 600th career goal (not counting international friendlies). In case you are wondering, 600 goals is also quite a lot.
Lionel Messi Free Kick vs Atlético Madrid: March 4, 2018
GOOOOOOAAAALLLL!!!Messi sends the Camp Nou asylum into a tizzy with a pinpoint free kick. 1-0, @FCBarcelona. #BarcaAtleti pic.twitter.com/Y2p9qeAK0u
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) March 4, 2018
It's clear to see what went wrong here. The two gentlemen in the middle of the wall needed to jump at least 8-10 feet higher. Honestly, it's like they're not even trying. Several members of the wall also appear to have given up and to have taken this as an opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Probably to Messi.
Moving right along, this brings us to Messi's free kick versus Las Palmas. With just one simple adjustment, Las Palmas could have successfully defended against this goal.
Lionel Messi Free Kick vs Las Palmas: March 1, 2018
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) March 1, 2018
Obviously Las Palmas manager Paco Jémez should have recruited an African bush elephant to fill the oversized hole on the left side of the wall. Even a smaller species, like an African forest elephant, would have done nicely – and the transfer fee would probably be less.
Why am I the only one who thinks of these things?
Finally, we have Lionel Messi's free kick versus Girona. Of all the goals we've seen, this was the most easily preventable.
Lionel Messi Free Kick vs Girona: February 24, 2018
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) February 24, 2018
These men of Girona needed a way to leap into the air without removing their feet from the ground. Luckily, Inspector Gadget pioneered shoes for just such a purpose. Obviously Girona manager Pablo Machín is not investing enough in his men's equipment.
The lessons here are obvious and easily implementable. It's now in your hands to take what you've learned, build upon it and prevent future generations from such embarassment. Godspeed.
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