What is the softest material in the universe? Is it a baby’s pure skin? The fur of your best dog/cat friend? A kiss from your mother? Your “My Pillow” that is more expensive than a pillow has any right to be? Or is it this Lionel Messi free kick vs Espanyol?
I’d argue it’s the latter.
Barcelona defeated Espanyol 2-0 on Saturday at the Camp Nou, moving at least temporarily 13 points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid in the LaLiga standings. Lionel Messi scored both goals, hitting at least 40 for a remarkable 10th straight season.
For much of the match, Barcelona dominated possession and created plenty of chances, as it is wont to do. But the home side at the Camp Nou couldn’t find an appropriate breakthrough.
That is, until this ultra-soft free kick.
Messi drew a free kick right outside the box in the 71st minute. Espanyol put nearly its entire team between Messi and the goal. It had one player run back to the near post to help out goalkeeper Diego Lopez. But the mass of players wasn’t enough to keep out Messi’s delicate chip.
If Alejandro Pozuelo scored one of the meanest chips in recent memory on Friday night, this Messi free kick vs Espanyol is one of the nicest chips in recent memory.
It was basically the opposite of the free kick struck by Paco Alcacer to give Borussia Dortmund a much-needed victory.
Paco Alcacer = CLUTCHHis second stoppage-time free kick winner of the season sent Dortmund back into 1st place ahead of #DerKlassiker. @BlackYellow pic.twitter.com/9THtV31hia
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 30, 2019
Of course, Messi didn’t stop there. With the game still in the balance (even if not the LaLiga crown), Messi put the game away by finishing off this devastating counterattack in the closing minutes.
Not only did Messi spring the counter with a great pass out wide to Malcom, he timed his run into the box perfectly, an underrated facet of the Argentine’s game.
And if two Messi goals weren’t enough for you, here’s a lovely bit of skill from the maestro to escape a defender. It was nowhere near the box and didn’t amount to much, but damn this guy’s good.