Why Lionel Messi did not take free-kicks in his early Barcelona career

Lionel Messi has scored  more than 60 free-kick goals in his career so far but when he emerged onto the scene as a youngster in Barcelona, the Argentine reportedly did not take the set pieces.

According Juan Carlos Unzue, who was the goalkeeping coach of the Frank Rijkaard-led Barca side, when Messi broke into the first team he would simply sit and watch Marquez, Deco and Ronaldinho practice — all of them “excellent at free-kicks”.

“When Messi came into the first team, there were players like Ronaldinho, Deco and Rafa Marquez, who were excellent free-kick takers and stayed after training to practice,” Unzue was quoted as saying to Sportskeeda.

“But Messi would sit on a ball, just watching them practice,” he added.

When Unzue asked the young Messi why he didn’t practice free-kicks despite him scoring them during his time at La Masia academy, Messi reportedly told him that it was “not my moment.”

“So, I asked Messi, ‘Why don’t you practice? I’ve seen you score free-kick goals at La Masia,’” Unzue added.

“Messi replied, ‘This is not my moment, this is Ronaldinho’s, Deco’s and Marquez’s moment’ […] At 16, Messi respected the hierarchies.”

Over the years, Messi mastered his set-piece speciality and is now almost unparalleled in world football after scoring some incredible free-kick goals over the years.

Time and again he has shown his prowess -curling the ball over the wall or striking it with power and beating the goalkeeper for pace.

Messi has now scored from a free kick in every year since 2008.

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