15 times Lionel Messi surprised the football world, is he the GOAT?

15 times Lionel Messi surprised the football world, is he the GOAT?

Helix Odhiambo
updated at May 24, 2023 at 10:24 AM

The Argentine striker is considered by many the best footballer in history. Lionel Messi has scored over 700 goals and provided more than 300 assists. He has also left many dumbfounded with his incredible moves and magical touches. This article highlights the 15 times Lionel Messi surprised the football world with his brilliance.

Leo Messi
Leo Messi during a speech in March 2023. To the right is Leo and Antonella Roccuzzo pictured in May 2023. Photos: @leomessi, Instagram and Facebook (Modified by author)
Source: UGC

The former Barcelona star has seven Ballon d'Or titles and 41 trophies as of September 2022. He is the second-most decorated footballer in history after Dani Alves (42). His records, dazzling skills, and vision speak for themselves.

Times Lionel Messi shocked the world

Football has produced many great talents, but there are things only Messi can do. Refresh your mind with some of the historic times Lionel Messi impressed the world.

15. Hat-trick vs Real Madrid, La Liga (10 March 2007)

Leo scored his first-ever hat-trick for Barcelona in a 3-3 draw against Real Madrid. Los Blancos took the lead three times, but the then 19-year-old Messi equalized for Barca on each occasion in the dramatic El Clasico.

14. Solo 'Maradona' goal vs Getafe, Copa del Rey semi-final (18 April 2007)

The Argentine dribbled the ball past a sea of Getafe players from the centre and scored without losing the ball. After the goal, Leo was applauded by both fans as the stadium erupted. Maradona scored a similar away in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England.

13. Header vs Manchester United, Champions League final (27 May 2009)

Lionel Messi's magical goals
Barca's L. Messi (L) scores against United's goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar (C) during the UEFA football Champions League final on 27 May 2009 at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. Photo: Filippo Monteforte
Source: Getty Images

The Argentine scored a perfectly-placed header against Man United, giving the Catalans a 2-0 lead in the UEFA Champions League final in Rome. Despite his short height, Messi rose above Rio Ferdinand and headed the ball past Edwin van der Sar.

12. Incredible goal vs Zaragoza, La Liga (22 March 2010)

Leo exploded from the centre circle and skipped several challenges before slotting a superb finish past Real Zaragoza goalkeeper to give Barca a 2-0 lead.

11. Four goals vs Arsenal, Champions League quarter-final 2nd leg (6 April 2010)

Messi produced a historical performance in Champions League history by scoring four against Arsenal. The Gunners took an early lead in Camp Nou, but Leo responded with four goals to earn Pep Guardiola's side a 4-1 win. He even earned praise from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

"He made the impossible possible. He has six or seven years in front of him, touch wood that nothing happens to him, and he can reach unbelievable levels." said the Arsenal manager.

10 things only Messi did in football

There are several times Lionel Messi showed who is the boss on the pitch. Enjoy more of Lionel Messi's magical goals and moments that any football fan will remember for years.

10. Solo goal vs Real Madrid, Champions League SF 1st Leg (26 April 2011)

The former Barca talisman scored a wonder goal to seal a memorable victory over Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid at Bernabeu. Leo sprinted past Sergio Ramos, Pepe, and Marcelo before rolling the ball past Iker Casillas to score Barcelona's second goal and his brace.

9. Five goals vs Bayer Leverkusen, Champions League last 16 (7 March 2012)

Messi is the first player to score five goals in a single match in the Champions League era. He bagged five against Bayer Leverkusen in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, helping Barca qualify to the quarters. Only Leo and Luiz Adriano (Shakhtar) have managed five goals in a single UCL match.

8. Incredible goal vs Bayern Munich, Champions League semi-final (6 May 2015)

The Argentine's goal against Bayern broke the internet and earned him more praise as the greatest player of all time. Leo sent Jerome Boateng crashing to the ground before executing his routine chip past Manuel Neuer to score Barca's second in their 3-0 victory.

7. Solo goal vs Athletic Bilbao, Copa del Rey final (30 May 2015)

Messi displayed one of the most outstanding performances by a player in a cup final. The Argentine began with the ball on the nearside touchline, playing it around three players and cutting inside before beating Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper at the near post.

6. Last-minute goal vs Real Madrid, La Liga (23 April 2017)

Leo's second-half stoppage-time winner against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu will remain in fans' memories for many years. The Barca legend finished the last counter-attack and celebrated by taking off his shirt and holding it up.

5. Hat-trick vs Ecuador, FIFA World Cup qualifier (11 October 2017)

Argentina was on the brink of missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but their captain delivered at the right time. Leo stunned the world with a hat-trick against Ecuador, guiding his team to a 3-1 victory in their last fixture. The win secured their automatic qualification to the tournament.

4. Superb vs Nigeria, 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D (26 June 2018)

Once again, Argentina needed a savior to avoid getting eliminated in the World Cup group stage, and it was Leo again who stood out. The PSG striker opened the scorers with one of the greatest ever World Cup goals against Nigeria. He later set up the second in their 2-1 win to seal a spot in the round 16.

3. Iconic free-kick vs Liverpool, UEFA Champions League SF 2nd leg (1 May 2019)

Messi scored an outrageous free-kick from 25 yards as Barca destroyed Liverpool 3-0 in their Champions League semi-final first leg at Camp Nou. However, Liverpool responded with a 4-0 win at home to qualify for the final.

2. First PSG goal vs Manchester City, Champions League group stage (28 September 2021)

Leo's first goal for Paris-saint Germain came against a formidable opponent. He scored PSG's second goal in a 2-0 win over Man City by burying his shot into the top corner.

1. Bicycle goal vs Clermont, League One (6 August 2022)

Messi's recent magic touch was a spectacular bicycle kick against Clermont in their League One fixture. With his back to goal, the Argentine received a long ball, chested the ball and sent an overhead kick over the keeper.

Who said Messi is the God of football?

Several coaches and football experts have heaped praise on Messi. In 2019, Jose Mourinho called him the 'God of football.'

"Messi is Messi. I'm not saying he's 'The Special One' of this week because he's 'The Special One' of all time. He is the God of football. We'll cry when he retires." Mourinho said.

Who is the greatest player in the world?

Football fans and experts are sometimes divided on who the best player is. Some pick Messi, while others choose Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele or Maradona. However, no player comes close to Messi if you consider the number of titles and the Ballon d'Or won.

How many are Guinness World Records there for Lionel Messi?

Who is the greatest player in the world?
Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine forward Lionel Messi reacts after being awarded the Ballon d'Or award at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on 29 November 2021. Photo: Franck Fife
Source: Getty Images

Leo's achievements have received recognition from various entities, including the Guinness World Records. Some of the records include:

  • Most appearances on a video game cover art by a soccer player (10)
  • Youngest Player to score 50 Goals in the Champions League (24 years, 9 months, 10 days)
  • Most appearances in LaLiga by a foreign player (520)
  • Most Goals scored by a substitute in a Copa America Match (three)
  • Most Goals in a UEFA Champions League Match (five)
  • Most goals in a football calendar year (91)

The number of times Lionel Messi surprised the football world is more than fifteen. There are plenty of other legendary performances and magical moments left out. He is indeed a genius in the sport and will remain a legend.

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Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.