Messi: Master of the Chip

Lionel Messi has scored 16 goals in 14 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions this year. He's also chipped in four assists. (Courtesy Nicholas Macgowan)

By Kevin Koczwara

Lionel Messi scores goals, that’s a given by now. He scores lots of goals, some more beautiful than others. But, have the fans and pundits become a little jaded? Is Messi really that good of a goal scorer and are all of his goals “beautiful”? Well, no, but many of them are.

Messi makes fans and pundits around the world sit and scratch their heads and say, “how did he do that?” on a regular basis. The Argentine does things that just don’t happen on the field and most players wouldn’t dare try some of the shots or moves he attempts while running at defenders. That’s what makes him stand out.

He is skilled enough and a good enough player to try and chip a goalkeeper on a regular basis. Not because it’s flashy to chip a goalkeeper. Nope. Just because he knows it’s the most effective way to score at that given moment in the game.

And Messi is probably the only player playing, right now, who dares to do some of the things he does. To top it off, he makes it look easy.

After watching Barcelona’s, 3-1, defeat of Villareal over the weekend, I joggled my memory and began to think about all the times I’ve seen the little Argentine split defenses, get the goalkeeper to commit low and then chip a goal just out of the reach of the keeper. It’s happened a lot.

http://www.footytube.com/v/NjQyMzU=

Messi’s first of two goals – the Catalan club’s second – in Barcelona’s win was just another highlight goal in a short, yet illustrious career. The change of pace, the two quick passes with Pedro and then the final touch with no breathing space to pluck the ball over Diego Lopez.

Pedro blasted a shot over the net earlier in the match from almost the same spot and much more time and room than Messi. To look at the two attempts on goal makes you appreciate just how good of a player Messi is. Remember, Pedro was selected to Spain’s World Cup winning squad this summer and one of the top wingers in La Liga. He took French legend Thierry Henry’s spot on Barcelona’s starting XI just two years ago. He’s no slouch.

Here are a few of clips of some of Messi’s more memorable chips.

Kevin Koczwara can be reached at Kevin.Koczwara@thesoccerguysonline.com.

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