A breakdown of Lionel Messi’s 50 career free-kicks for Barcelona and Argentina

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Lionel Messi reached another milestone in Barcelona‘s 5-1 victory over Real Valladolid by scoring the 50th free-kick of his career for club and country.

The goal was part of another sublime Messi performance, in which he scored two and set up two – and left Oscar Plano facing an existential crisis with a cheeky nutmeg.

Messi has now scored 44 free-kicks for Barcelona and six for Argentina, but it is a skill he has had to develop over the years.

As a youth player at La Masia, Messi did not take free-kicks and it was not a skill particularly practiced in Barcelona training.

It was actually under the tutelage of Diego Maradona with the Argentina national team that Messi began to hone his craft.

Maradona’s assistant manager Fernando Signorini told La Nacion, via Goal, that El Diego took Messi to one side after he walked off the training pitch in frustration after failing to convert a number of free-kick attempts.

“I saw Diego coming, he took him by the shoulder and said, ‘Little Leo, little Leo, come here, man. Let’s try it again.’ It was like a teacher with his pupil,” Signorini said.

“He continued, ‘Put the ball here and listen to me: don’t take your foot away from the ball so fast because otherwise it won’t know what you want.’ He then stroked the ball with his left foot straight into the angle of the net, with Messi’s face full of admiration.”

Since then, Messi has only gone from strength to strength, and Barcelona have produced a neat graphic as a breakdown of his free-kicks after he brought up his half century.

Click on the graphic to see how, when and where each set-piece was scored.

Two-thirds of his free-kicks have been scored in La Liga, while Barca’s local rivals Espanyol have been his favourite victims, against whom he has scored six goals from dead-ball scenarios.

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