Greatest Goals - Lionel Messi

Great goals project

Lionel Messi has scored some of the greatest goals of the modern era, both for Barcelona and for Argentina. It was incredibly difficult to narrow the list down to just 50 goals, and you will almost certainly disagree with our selections.

We've tried to keep the list as original as possible - for example, Messi has scored over 50 free-kicks in his career but we chose to include only the absolute best ones. Likewise, more original and unique Messi goals took precedence over the type of goal we know he can score with his eyes closed.

So here is the list with Lionel Messi's 50 Greatest Goals, ranked by FootballCritic.

Read in our FAQ how FootballCritic Great Goals works.

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Greatest Goals of Lionel Messi

Rank   Name
Fixture
Date
1
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2010/2011

Messi collects the ball from Busquets' toe and proceeds to slalom his way through four Real Madrid defenders before flicking his finish into the far corner with his right foot.

Goal type:
Individual
9.8

Watch video
2
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2014/2015

Messi leaves five Athletic Bilbao defenders in his wake as he dribbles up the touchline, inside the box and then curls his low shot under the jumping Luis Suarez and into the corner of the net.

Goal type:
Individual
9.6

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3
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2016/2017

Sergi Roberto covers fully 70 yards running out from full-back, before one-touch moves from Andre Gomes, Jordi Alba and then, clinically, Messi, who drives into the corner for the most sensational of Clasico goals.

Goal type:
Team
9.6

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4
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2010/2011

Messi closes in on Manuel Almunia and, as the goalkeeper throws himself at his feet, chips the ball up for himself and slots into the net.

Goal type:
Special
9.5

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5
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2006/2007

One of Messi's all-time greats, he collects the ball on the halfway line on the touchline, before running through the entire Getafe backline, rounding the keeper, and squeezing home from a tight angle.

Goal type:
Individual
9.1

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6
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2011-2012

The most outrageous of free kicks, Thibaut Courtois is still organising his wall and Messi just loops the ball perfectly over his head. Like Ronaldinho, only Messi meant it.

Goal type:
Free-Kick
9.1

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7
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2014/2015

Messi runs directly at Jerome Boateng and his pace of movement sends the German onto his backside before the Argentine nonchalantly dinks his shot over the despairing Manuel Neuer.

Goal type:
Individual
9.1

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8
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2008/2009

Messi, on the right touchline, utilises wondrous chest control to evade the first defender before side-stepping in between two more as they converge on him, before using his right foot to smash his shot into the roof of the net.

Goal type:
Individual
8.9

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9
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2018/2019

Messi plays a one-two with Ivan Rakitic and when the ball returns he flips up a quite brilliant lob in off the crossbar, with the goalkeeper having simply no chance.

Goal type:
Special
8.9

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10
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2010-2011

Messi, to Alves, to Messi, to Alves, to Messi, to Alves, to Messi, who then slots past the goalkeeper. Three one-twos.

Goal type:
Team
8.8

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11
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2009/2010

Messi shows superb strength on the halfway line to hold off the defender and skip past the next challenge. He then turns the final defender inside and out before lashing into the far corner.

Goal type:
Individual
8.8

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12
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2008/2009

Dani Alves' no-look, outside-of-the-foot pass is totally obscene and allows Messi to just apply the finishing touch into the corner. Glorious football.

Goal type:
Team
8.8

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13
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2015/2016

Neymar, Suarez and Messi work in perfect tandem to pass their way through the shellshocked Roma defence, with Messi producing an inch-perfect dink at the end of it finish the move.

Goal type:
Team
8.8

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14
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2006/2007

Carlos Tevez swivels in the middle and sprays the ball out wide to Messi who takes a touch before the most glorious of scoops over the top of the goalkeeper and into the net.

Goal type:
Special
8.7

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15
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2006/2007

In the final minute of the Clasico, Messi slaloms past Ivan Helguera and then evades the dive of Sergio Ramos to lash across Iker Casillas and into the far corner.

Goal type:
Individual
8.6

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16
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2018/2019

Rakitic floats a cross to the edge of the area where Messi is poised, Zidane-style, and flashes a volley with perfect connection into the top corner of the net in a crowded area.

Goal type:
Volley
8.6

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17
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2008/2009

Xavi teases a ball into the area and the diminutive Messi leaps to an extraordinary height from the ground, his boot falling off in the process, to head back across Edwin van der Sar and into the net.

Goal type:
Header
8.5

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18
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2008/2009

Messi collects the ball on the right flank and meanders his way across the area and exchanges a one-two with Samuel Eto'o before coolly rolling the ball into the corner.

Goal type:
Individual
8.5

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19
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2018/2019

Messi puts the ball down fully 30 yards from goal and strikes with such purity, curling into the top corner against one of the best goalkeepers in the game.

Goal type:
Free-Kick
8.5

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20
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2007/2008

Messi has the ball in the area and as the Celtic defender commits himself he drags it back, Ferenc Puskas-style, before curling into the corner.

Goal type:
Individual
8.3

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21
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2014/2015

A blisteringly quick exchange between Andres Iniesta, Neymar and Messi ends with the Argentina sweeping his finish across goal and into the corner.

Goal type:
Team
8.2

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22
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2009/2010

Messi again displays great strength to ease the defender out of the way before moving back inside the curling his effort into the near post beyond the goalkeeper.

Goal type:
Individual
8.2

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23
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2008/2009

Messi had been on the bench for this but with his side 1-0 he equalised then produces this, a stunning piece of control and a sublime volley all while completely off-balance.

Goal type:
Volley
8.2

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24
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2019/2020

An absolutely sublime team goal, Messi instigates it by passing around the corner, Antoine Griezmann flicks to Arturo Vidal, who times his backheel deliberately and perfectly into the path of Messi who arrives to slot home.

Goal type:
Team
8.2

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25
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2014/2015

Xavi's raking pass picks out Dani Alves at full-back and his first-time, volleyed cross is met by Messi, who heads home to complete the move.

Goal type:
Team
8.2

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26
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2011/2012

Messi receives a pass infield then produces an immediate nutmeg on the defender before a delicious lob high into the opposite corner for a wonderful manoeuvre.

Goal type:
Special
8.1

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27
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2018 Russia

Messi collects a long pass on his thigh, takes another touch before it hits the ground and smashes a shot with his weaker foot across the goalkeeper.

Goal type:
Individual
8.1

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28
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2014 Brazil

Vintage Messi, covering the ground with the ball at an incredible rate and uses Gonzalo Higuain as a wall pass before launching his left-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Goal type:
Team
8.1

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29
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2008/2009

Messi controls a Xavi through ball with his head, straight into his path and he catches a bouncing half-volley at the perfect height, dropping his shot into the corner of the net.

Goal type:
Volley
8.0

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30
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2011/2012

Messi scores the second of his indentical goals in this match, picking up on the touchline and drifting a full 50 yards into goal before curling brilliantly into the net for a late winner.

Goal type:
Individual
7.9

Watch video
31
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2009/2010

Messi is given a clear run on goal by the Arsenal back line and he composes himself to flick his finish over the flailing arms of the goalkeeper and into the net.

Goal type:
Special
7.9

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32
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2011/2012

Messi collects the ball on the right touchline and immediately leaves Marcelo for dead before bearing down on goal, shifting to his left foot and curling a stunning shot into the top corner.

Goal type:
Individual
7.9

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33
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2016/2017

Messi exchanges passes with Busquets and then Ivan Rakitic before running into the hear of the Real Madrid defence to slot into the net in style.

Goal type:
Team
7.7

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34
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2018/2019

Messi spreads the play out wide to Alba, Alba's cross into the box is dummied by Luis Suarez and Messi steadies himself before slamming home into the corner.

Goal type:
Team
7.7

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35
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2009/2010

Messi hits a first-time lob from the edge of the box at pace and it floats perfectly into the top corner.

Goal type:
Special
7.6

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36
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2011/2012

Messi turns on the afterburners, moving at immense pace towards a Malaga defence who can't get near, and just when it looks as if he has ran wide, he takes a half-stride to allow his left foot to slot into far corner.

Goal type:
Individual
7.6

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37
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2010/2011

Messi, 30 yards from goal, plays a concise one-two with Xavi and then another with Pedro in the tightest of spaces, then slides his shot into the corner.

Goal type:
Team
7.5

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38
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2012/2013

With a defender clinging to his back, Messi is able to shake free and bear down on goal, and while faced with four defenders he shifts to his left and arrows a shot past all of them and into the corner.

Goal type:
Individual
7.5

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39
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2018/2019

Messi exchanges passes with Ousmane Dembele and homes in on goal, and with at least four PSV defenders between him and goal, he somehow manufactures a space to squeeze the ball into the net.

Goal type:
Individual
7.5

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40
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2012/2013

Messi has the ball forty yards out, skips to the right, skips to the left, runs through two defenders and arrows his left-footed shot into the corner.

Goal type:
Individual
7.3

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41
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2010/2011

Messi combines with Pedro for two separate one-twos before dinking his effort into the net from a very tight angle.

Goal type:
Team
7.3

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42
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2011/2012

Messi is 35 yards from goal and exchanges passes with Andres Iniesta, who backheels brilliantly into his path for the Argentine to crack a blistering shot into the roof of the net.

Goal type:
Team
7.3

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43
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2009/2010

Xavi flips the ball over the top of the defence and Messi collects on his chest, dummies the goalkeeper, and is able to slot the ball home with barely touching the ball.

Goal type:
Special
7.2

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44
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2010/2011

Barcelona 5-0 Real Sociedad Messi had already scored a genius goal in this game, but this one he runs in a straight line directly across the area, taking out one, two, three, four, five defenders before slotting perfectly inside the post.

Goal type:
Individual
7.2

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45
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2011/2012

Messi had already lobbed the goalkeeper in this game, but does it again, with his bad foot, at a tighter angle, on the way to scoring five goals in a single Champions League game.

Goal type:
Special
7.1

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46
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2013/2014

Messi is tackled 40 yards from goal, wins it back, then just sprints as fast as possible to leave five Getafe players in his wake, and as the keeper comes out he walks around him and slots in from an acute angle.

Goal type:
Individual
7.1

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47
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2017/2018

Messi takes up the quarterback position, pinging in a one-two before spreading the play wide to Jordi Alba. His first-time cross to the edge of the area is then swept home brilliantly by the onrushing Messi.

Goal type:
Team
7.1

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48
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2012/2013

A special Messi free-kick in the peak of the Messi v Ronaldo battles, this one is absolutely perfectly placed into the corner.

Goal type:
Free-Kick
6.9

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49
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2008/2009

Messi collects the ball surrounded by three players but he somehow unlocks the space before calmly slotting the ball into the corner.

Goal type:
Individual
6.8

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50
Lionel Messi face
Lionel Messi 2012/2013

Barca were under pressure, 2-0 down from the first leg, until Messi set them on their way by drifting between the lines, taking a touch then bending a perfect shot into the top corner.

Goal type:
Individual
6.5

Watch video

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