Lionel Messi's best ever goals

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for Barcelona against Manchester United in April 2019.
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There is much more to Lionel Messi than goals. The Agentine attacker is a creator, a playmaker and a visionary. Put him in any position and he would be the best.

But ultimately, he will remembered for the goals. Leading scorer for Argentina and Barcelona, Messi's career is filled with special strikes.

From mesmerising runs and dribbles to fantastic free-kicks, delicate lobs and long-range blockbusters, Messi has scored every type of goal. There are hundreds to choose from, but here we pick out the very best...

36. Barcelona vs Albacete (2005)

Lionel Messi celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his first Barcelona goal in 2005 against Albacete.

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The first goal. Lionel Messi made his Barcelona debut against Espanyol in October 2004, but he had to wait until May 2005 to get on the scoresheet for the Blaugrana.

It came against Albacete at Camp Nou. Ronaldinho found the 17-year-old substitute with a lofted pass and the Argentine let it bounce before netting with a lovely left-footed lob. A legend was born.

35. Barcelona vs Celta Vigo (2016)

Lionel Messi curls an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner for Barcelona against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou in 2016.

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It is hard to believe that in the early years of his career, Lionel Messi was not very good at taking free-kicks. But when he eventually mastered the art, he became the best at that too.

This effort against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou is one of his finest. Almost 30 yards from goal, the Argentine hits a curler with his left foot which arches away from goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez and into the top corner. Beautiful.

34. Barcelona vs Manchester United (2009)

Lionel Messi jumps to score a header for Barcelona against Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final in Rome.

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Lionel Messi's slight stature means he is not known for his headers, but the Argentine scored one on the grandest of stages – the 2009 Champions League final.

The Argentine found space between John O'Shea and Rio Ferdinand and rose majestically to head Xavi's cross over Edwin van der Sar to net for the first time against English opposition as Barça wrapped up a historic treble.

33. Barcelona vs Getafe (2015)

Lionel Messi scores Barcelona's sixth goal against Getafe in a 6-0 win at Camp Nou in 2015.

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There were seven Getafe players in the area, four defenders in a straight line and two just in front of Lionel Messi – but they still couldn't stop him.

Messi had received the ball on the right side of the box from Luis Suarez and, with Getafe expecting a cross, the Argentine chipped a shot over the goalkeeper and into the far corner instead. Sensational.

32. Sevilla vs Barcelona (2012)

Lionel Messi scoops the ball over Andres Palop to score for Barcelona against Sevilla in 2012.

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Lionel Messi has scored more goals against Sevilla than any other team, netting 38 in 42 appearances against the Andalusians during his time at Barcelona.

In this La Liga game at the Sanchez Pizjuan, the Argentine received a ball in space from Andres Iniesta outside the area, nutmegged Emir Spahic on his way into the box and scooped a left-footed effort over the advancing Andres Palop in the Sevilla goal. Just brilliant.

31. Barcelona vs Villarreal (2017)

Lionel Messi celebrates with Rafinha and Neymar after scoring the winner for Barcelona against Villarreal at Camp Nou in February 2015.

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Lionel Messi favours his left foot, but the World Cup winner has scored some stunning goals with his right over the years, including this cracker against Villarreal.

Luis Suarez stretched to pass a ball to Messi on the edge of the area and in a split second, Leo controlled with his right foot and then smashed a shot into the top corner to win the match. Fantastic.

30. Barcelona vs Celta Vigo (2015)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou in 2017.

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It is often commented that Lionel Messi spends a lot of time walking around on a football pitch. But when he bursts into action, he is often impossible to stop.

Against Celta Vigo, he brought the ball down close to the centre circle with his back to goal, turned and raced towards the area. Shaking off one challenge and then another on the edge of the box, he slid a low shot into the corner to finish. Deadly.

29. Barcelona vs Valencia (2019)

Lionel Messi celebrates with rage after scoring his second goal for Barcelona against Valencia at Camp Nou in 2019.

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Valencia were 2-1 ahead against Barcelona at Camp Nou in 2019 and defending brilliantly. Lionel Messi was getting frustrated but, as usual, he found a way.

Arturo Vidal laid the ball back to Messi just outside the D and the Argentine took a touch to beat one Valencia defender, skipped past another pair and curled a shot with his left foot between those two players and the onrushing Dani Parejo to score through the eye of a needle into the bottom corner. Pinpoint.

28. Argentina vs Nigeria (2014)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for Argentina against Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup.

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Lionel Messi scored 13 World Cup goals for Argentina across four tournament appearances and this was arguably the best of them all.

Ever Banega picked out Messi's run with a clever lofted pass through the Nigerian defence, Leo controlled with his thigh and then touched it with his left foot before running into space and firing home with his right. Outstanding.

27. Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid (2011)

Lionel Messi celebrates with Pedro after scoring for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid in 2011.

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Lionel Messi scored 32 goals for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid and those included some special strikes – including this one at Camp Nou in 2011.

The Argentine played a one-two with Pedro close to the corner flag, cut inside and ghosted past two Atletico defenders with a clever feint before curling a shot past Thibaut Courtois at the near post. Magical.

26. Barcelona vs Real Sociedad (2010)

Lionel Messi (right) scores an impressive solo goal against Real Sociedad for Barcelona at Camp Nou in 2010.

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The Camp Nou has often been called Lionel Messi's garden and it is not hard to see why with goals like this one.

After receiving a short pass from Bojan Krkic in the area, the Argentine went past four Real Sociedad defenders as if they were schoolboys and then slid a shot back the other way past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Unreal.

25. PSG vs Lens (2022)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for PSG against Lens in Ligue 1 in 2022.

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Like a rugby team trying to set up their kicker for a drop goal attempt, PSG passed the ball around patiently before laying it off to Lionel Messi against Lens.

Messi wandered free from his marker and put his hand up, received a short pass from Neymar and took a touch with his left before smashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner. Inevitable.

24. Barcelona vs Stuttgart (2010)

Lionel Messi sticks his tongue out as he celebrates after scoring for Barcelona against Stuttgart in the Champions League in 2010.

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Lionel Messi had one defender on his right, another to his left and two ahead of him, yet still managed to squeeze a shot through them all against Stuttgart at Camp Nou.

The Argentine advanced to the edge of the box and, under pressure from those four, unleashed a venomous curler which flew over the goalkeeper and into the top corner. Sublime. Ridiculous.

23. Barcelona vs Manchester United (2019)

Lionel Messi peels away in celebration after scoring for Barcelona against Manchester United in the Champions League in 2019 as goalkeeper David de Gea looks dejected.

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Lionel Messi scored two superb goals for Barcelona vs Manchester United in Champions League finals – but this one is arguably the pick of his four strikes against the Red Devils.

The Argentine avoided a lunge from Ashley Young, set off towards the area and nutmegged Fred before beating David de Gea with a low curler into the goalkeeper's bottom-right corner. Trademark.

22. PSG vs Barcelona (2021)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for Barcelona against PSG in the Champions League at the Parc des Princes in 2021.

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Lionel Messi's last Champions League goal for Barcelona before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain was –  like so many of his strikes –  a thing of beauty. And coincidentally, it also came against PSG.

The Argentine advanced in a central position and, almost 30 yards from goal, unleashed a powerful left-footed drive which swerved in the air and flew past Keylor Navas in the PSG goal. Stunning.

21. PSG vs Manchester City (2021)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for PSG in the Champions League against Manchester City in September 2021.

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Lionel Messi's first goal for Paris Saint-Germain took a while to arrive –  but it was well worth the wait.

The Argentine drove forward, played a pass to Kylian Mbappe on the edge of the area, got the ball back and drove a fierce curling shot into the top corner – this time to the goalkeeper's left. Magnifique.

20. Barcelona vs Mallorca (2019)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring Barcelona's first goal in a 5-2 win over Mallorca at Camp Nou in 2019.

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Lionel Messi hit a hat-trick for Barcelona in their 5-2 win over Mallorca at Camp Nou in December 2019 – and his first goal was something special.

The Argentine received a pass a few yards outside the area with his back to goal, turned and shifted the ball onto his left foot and curled home an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Classic Leo.

19. Racing Santander vs Barcelona (2009)

Lionel Messi runs past two Racing Santander defenders before scoring for Barcelona at El Sardinero in September 2009.

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This is the trademark Lionel Messi goal from his early years at Barcelona. He has scored so many just like this throughout his career.

Taking the ball on the right, the Argentina would cut inside and run across the opposition area to create space for a shooting opportunity with his favoured left foot and then curl the ball inside the post. Here he does exactly that, leaving a number of opponents in his wake before dispatching an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Lovely.

18. Inter Miami vs Nashville (2023)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for Inter Miami against Nashville in the Leagues Cup final in 2023.

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Lionel Messi made an instant impact at Inter Miami, leading the Florida outfit to a first-ever trophy with victory over Nashville to win the Leagues Cup in August 2023.

The Argentine netted with a stunning strike as he pounced on a loose ball outside the area, sidestepped a challenge from a Nashville defender and unleashed a rocket from the edge of the D which flew between two opponents and into the top corner. Inter Miami later won on penalties.

17. Argentina vs Brazil (2012)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a hat-trick for Argentina against Brazil in a 4-3 win in 2012.

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Brazil's defending may leave a lot to be desired for this goal, but it was still a special strike for Lionel Messi against Argentina's biggest rivals.

Leo beat Marcelo in a 50-50 challenge on the right side, cut inside and raced towards the area. And with Brazil's defenders backing off, he unleashed an unstoppable shot which curled into the top corner to bring up his hat-trick and a 4-3 win. It was only a friendly – but it meant a lot.

16. Barcelona vs Arsenal (2011)

Lionel Messi celebrates with his Barcelona team-mates after scoring against Arsenal in the Champions League in 2011.

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Barcelona beat Arsenal en route to another Champions League title in 2011 and Lionel Messi set the Blaugrana on their way to victory at Camp Nou.

After Cesc Fabregas gave the ball away in midfield, Andres Iniesta played a pass through to Messi, who teed himself up to evade the onrushing Manuel Almunia and then volleyed the ball into the empty net. Quality.

15. Barcelona vs Malaga (2009)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for Barcelona against Malaga in 2009.

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Barcelona won the treble under Pep Guardiola in 2008/09 and it was in that season when Lionel Messi started to produce his best on a consistent basis.

Against Malaga, he intercepted a ball with his chest on the right, raced into the area and wriggled his way between two defenders before finishing at the near post. Devastating.

14. Argentina vs USA

Lionel Messi scores a free-kick against USA for Argentina in the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

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Lionel Messi became Argentina's all-time top scorer with this strike against USA at the 2016 Copa America Centenario, overtaking the great Gabriel Batistuta.

The Barcelona forward curled an unstoppable free-kick into the top-right corner of the net from 30 yards out, giving goalkeeper Brad Guzan no chance. Golazo.

13. Barcelona vs Bayern Munich (2015)

Lionel Messi chips the ball over Manuel Neuer to score for Barcelona against Bayern Munich in the 2015 Champions League semi-final first leg at Camp Nou.

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One of Lionel Messi's most famous goals, this one came in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou, en route to the treble.

The Argentine advanced into the area, left defender Jerome Boateng flat on his backside after turning him one way and then the other, before beating the onrushing Manuel Neuer with a deft chip to finish in sumptuous style.

12. Getafe vs Barcelona (2014)

Lionel Messi goes past Getafe goalkeeper Jordi Codina to score for Barcelona in the teams' Copa del Rey clash in January 2014.

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Not Lionel Messi's most famous goal against Getafe, but still one of the very best of his entire career, this one came away from home.

On the ball some 40 yards out, the Argentine beat one opponent with some super skill and then burst through the entire back line and past goalkeeper Jordi Cordina before sliding the ball into the empty net. An absolute cheat code.

11. Argentina vs Mexico (2007)

Lionel Messi in action for Argentina against Mexico in the 2007 Copa America.

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Lionel Messi was just 20 years old at the 2007 Copa America, but the young attacker was already an important player for Argentina.

In the semi-finals against Mexico, Leo received the ball in space in the right side of the area and under pressure from two defenders, he scooped a nonchalant lob over goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez and into the far corner. Tremendous.

10. Barcelona vs Valencia

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for Barcelona against Valencia at Camp Nou in 2010.

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Lionel Messi scored 31 goals against Valencia during his time at Barcelona and those included some special strikes.

In a La Liga game at Camp Nou in 2010, the Argentine collected a pass outside the area, got away from one opponent, wrong-footed another following a touch from a Valencia player, then beat a third before curling home a shot inside the near post. Superb.

9. Tenerife vs Barcelona (2010)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for Barcelona against Tenerife in 2010.

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Dani Alves laid off a short pass to Lionel Messi just outside the area and with a single swing of his left boot, the Argentine added another collector's item.

Spotting Tenerife goalkeeper Sergio Aragoneses off his line, Messi curled a shot up and over the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net to round off a 4-1 win in the Canary Islands. Exquisite.

8. Barcelona vs Liverpool

Lionel Messi curls a free-kick over the Liverpool wall and past goalkeeper Alisson Becker to give Barcelona a 3-0 win over the Reds in the teams' 2019 Champions League semi-final first leg at Camp Nou.

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Lionel Messi scored twice in a 3-0 win for Barcelona over Liverpool in the teams' Champions League semi-final first leg at Camp Nou.

The Argentine curled a beautiful left-footed effort over the wall and into the top corner in the 82nd minute – finding probably the only spot where he could beat Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker. It was his 600th goal for Barcelona, but in the end the Reds advanced to the final after an epic comeback at Anfield.

7. Real Betis vs Barcelona (2019)

Lionel Messi is applauded by Real Betis fans after scoring Barcelona's fourth goal in a 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin in 2019.

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Lionel Messi had already scored twice for Barcelona away to Real Betis in the side's La Liga clash at the Benito Villamarin in 2019, but he saved the best until last.

The Argentine laid off a pass to Ivan Rakitic on the left, received the ball back just inside the area and, with Betis goalkeeper Pau Lopez barely even off his line, curled an impudent, inch-perfect effort in via the crossbar with his left foot. Even the home fans stood and applauded.

6. Barcelona vs Eibar (2017)

Barcelona's Lionel Messi beats several Eibar defenders before scoring a memorable solo goal at Camp Nou in 2017.

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Luis Suarez had just raced clear on his own and seemed certain to score for Barcelona, only to see his shot saved by Eibar goalkeeper Yoel Rodriguez. Seconds later, Lionel Messi showed the Uruguayan how it is done.

The Argentine brought down a high ball in midfield, found his way past two opponents and embarked on a solo run towards goal, leaving three defenders in his wake with a drop of the shoulder, before finishing with his right foot. Unstoppable.

5. Athletic Club vs Barcelona (2013)

Lionel Messi runs through the Athletic Club defence to score for Barcelona at San Mames in La Liga in April 2013.

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This match was played between Barcelona's two Champions League semi-final legs against Bayern Munich in 2013 and, having missed the first of those through injury, Lionel Messi started on the bench at San Mames.

With Barça trailing, the Argentine came on just short of the hour mark and soon waltzed through the Athletic Club defence, going past three defenders in a tight space before sliding a low, left-footed shot into the bottom corner. Genius.

4. Zaragoza vs Barcelona (2010)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring an impressive solo goal for Barcelona against Real Zaragoza in 2010.

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Another wonderful solo goal from the early years of Lionel Messi's career came against Real Zaragoza at La Romareda in La Liga.

The Argentine won the ball back deep in Zaragoza's half, used his strength to hold off an opponent, dribbled past another, raced forward and turned a defender inside-out with a super slalom before drilling a low angled shot into the corner with his left foot. Extraordinary.

3. Real Madrid vs Barcelona (2011)

Lionel Messi peels away in celebration after scoring his superb solo goal for Barcelona against Real Madrid in the 2011 Champions League semi-final first leg in 2011.

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En route to a second Champions League win in three seasons under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona were drawn against fierce rivals Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

With Madrid down to 10 men at the Santiago Bernabeu, Lionel Messi played a short pass to Sergio Busquets in midfield and took up the ball following a subtle lay-off from the midfielder. He then ran past four opponents before sliding a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Iker Casillas and into the corner. Wonderful.

2. Barcelona vs Athletic Club (2015)

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his first goal against Athletic Club for Barcelona in the 2015 Copa del Rey final at Camp Nou.

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With the scores level in the 2015 Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Club at Camp Nou, Lionel Messi took matters into his own hands.

The Argentine picked up the ball on the right flank just inside the Athletic half, advanced down the line and beat three opponents with some impressive close control in tight spaces before cutting inside, leaving a fourth defender in his wake and curling in a shot at the near post. Unbelievable.

1. Barcelona vs Getafe (2007)

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi in full flow as he goes past Alexis and David Belenguer en route to his famous goal against Getafe at Camp Nou in 2007.

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The moment everyone knew just how special Lionel Messi was, this effort against Getafe was compared to Diego Maradona's goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

Messi picked up the ball in his own half, beat one Getafe player, nutmegged another and then raced down the Camp Nou pitch, evaded two more opponents on the edge of the box, took the ball past goalkeeper Luis and clipped the ball over another defender on the line to net from a tight angle. Iconic.

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