Lionel Messi’s no-look pass to Neymar was worthy of GOAT status

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Lionel Messi of PSG celebrates his goal during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain and Nice at Parc des Princes on October 1, 2022 in Paris, France.

It’s been almost 18 years since Lionel Messi made his club debut and he’s still finding new ways to leave your jaw agape and saliva trickling from your mouth absent-mindedly.

The main talking point after PSG’s narrow 2-1 victory over Nice was Messi’s stupendous free-kick.

You’ve probably already seen it; an air of expectancy enveloped the Parc des Princes as the bearded magician took deep controlled breaths before pinging his shot past a stranded Kasper Schmeichel.

With impeccable timing, the advertising hoardings flashed the word ‘GOAT’ as thousands of Parisians had a collective orgasm. It really was that good.

But, whisper it quietly, watching Messi score another free-kick is a prime example of genius becoming taken for granted.

Or, put another way, it would have been more newsworthy if the Argentina international hadn’t scored.

Forget spoilt, our generation is lying prostrate and fattened to the point of obesity by regular moments of otherwordly inspiration from Messi. But it does mean he has to work harder to find original ways to amaze us.

Luckily, Messi remains committed to that very task. With PSG attempting to break down stubborn opponents, Messi collected the ball and charged purposefully into Nice territory.

Two defenders furiously backpedalled in trepidation as the tornado approached. Mario Lemina took a more direct approach, barging into the back of Messi with the unapologetic manner of Liz Truss trashing the economy for shits and giggles.

Messi’s threat appeared neutralised. The Nice defence appeared visibly relieved for the chance of a breather and time to re-group. They should have known better.

With his weaker foot, Messi managed to hook a perfect through ball into the path of Neymar. With no sense of narrative, the Brazilian was unable to fashion a goalscoring opportunity but mere facts fail to detract from the sublime nature of preceding events.

Even when Messi was inconvenienced by lying on his back like an upside-down turtle, he was able to split the Nice defence with a threaded pass.

Our thoughts and prayers are with anybody given the impossible task of stopping him in this mood.

After the match, PSG boss Christophe Galtier claimed that Messi could become the best player in the world again. Speaking to GFFN, he said: “I have an incredible pleasure to see him every morning in training.

“He’s in good spirits, very happy. He is a very selfless player, who animates the game and has always been used to scoring. He’s getting the taste for scoring again.

“Can he become the best player in the world again? Yes, if he’s in incredible form this summer. He is well prepared. He’s happy. And when he’s happy, he performs well.”

In all honesty, we weren’t aware that Messi stopped being the world’s leading player. While he struggled during his debut season with PSG, scoring just six league goals, the 35-year-old still provided 14 assists and moments of wizardry that should be illegal outside of Hogwarts.

And the Argentina captain has been in scintillating form for his country, destroying Italy at Wembley in June and dragging his side to the status of World Cup favourites.

But perhaps the biggest compliment we can pay Messi is that he keeps finding new ways to appreciate his unique talent. Now go and pick your jaw off the floor.


READ MORE: The story of the two La Masia players better than Lionel Messi at free-kicks