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Messi's finishing masterclass: Here's how he uses dazzling skills to be the GOAT

  /  autty

Manchester United beware: the last time Lionel Messi faced a Premier League team in the Champions League knockout stages he showed just why he is among the greatest finishers in the history of football.

From the moment Andres Iniesta's cut-back was directed towards Messi at Stamford Bridge last season, Barcelona were destined to level their last-16 tie at 1-1 heading back to the Nou Camp.

And there, Messi once again demonstrated his class by poking the ball through the legs of Thibaut Courtois not once, but twice in a 3-0 win.

The outstanding goalscorer of this and perhaps any generation produced another personal finishing masterclass - one that has become so familiar over the years.

Messi has a developed a number of trademark finishes but can call on an unmatched array of skills and techniques which, married with an almost inhuman calmness, makes him world football's most lethal gunslinger.

Here are just some of the ways Messi has dazzled us over the years in front of goal. (And remember, Messi has at some stage in his career pulled off almost every example below with both his favoured left foot and his 'weaker' right boot too.)

1 - The dink

Think of a Messi finish and chances are that this might come to mind. Here, Bayern Munich were the victims, with no less a keeper than Manuel Neuer embarrassed.

2 - The scoop

A cheekier version of the dink that only the most supremely confident players can pull off. Arsenal, and Manuel Almunia, found that out to their cost.

3 - The close-range sidefoot pass

This caught Chelsea cold last season. Simple, stroked, precise, unstoppable. Messi had two options - near post or far - and he chose wisely, as usual.

4 - The long-range sidefoot pass

Messi can score in either corner from the edge of the box. Here against Atletico he opts against a curling shot and places one low inside the near post.

5 - The 18-yard top-corner curler

A finish closely associated with Messi. Here he starts with a darting run in from the right flank, before unleashing a scorcher against Racing Santander.

6 - The long-range bullet

Another way to find the bottom corner from a central position, but this time from 25 yards out Messi is required to give it some extra oomph.

7 - The near-post free-kick

Messi is one of the deadliest dead-ball exponents, even if his reputation is forged by other skills. David Beckham would be proud of this one.

8 - The far-post free-kick

Messi is capable of using all manner of ways to deceive a keeper from a free-kick, as seen here, where he shapes to shoot one side but wrongfoots the goalkeeper.

9 - The round-the-keeper

The perfect finish to arguably Messi's greatest goal, the slaloming, Maradona-esque run against Getafe that beat five defenders and the keeper.

10 - The close-range power shot

After bursting through the Real Zaragoza defence to set up a shot at goal, Messi eschews any form of flair and opts simply to drill the ball.

11 - The eyes

An object lesson of how to deceive a goalkeeper, Messi here bursts through against Atletico and gives the keeper 'the eyes' before slotting in.

12 - The header

Not even 5ft 6in tall, Messi is the last person you would expect to score a towering header in a Champions League final, yet he did, against Manchester United in 2009.

13 – The stab

Sometimes moving at such pace, with so many shifts of balance, does not leave room for a finessed finish, but Messi still finds a way.

14 - The dummy

Sometimes the most effective move isn't touching the ball at all, as Messi demonstrated with this killer feint against Manchester City at the Nou Camp in 2016.

15 - The piledriver

Not even Messi can often wriggle through a crowded, deep-sat defence, but all he needs is a glimpse at goal, even from 30 yards.

16 – The lob

No shot is more difficult to judge for an attacker, or more embarrassing for a goalkeeper to concede, than a long-range lob. Messi hit this one.

17 - The lob free-kick

An outrageous way to score a free-kick, almost impossible to pull off, and the last thing a keeper expects. Atletico Madrid were left in awe here.

18 - The alley-oop

In basketball, the alley-oop is a show-stopping play where a player lofts a pass up to the basket for another to run on to and slam dunk. Here against Arsenal, Messi does his own version of the trick - but for himself to score.

19 – The Panenka

Messi misses a surprising number of penalties, especially compared with his great rival Ronaldo. This, however, is the ultimate in penalty-taking cheek.

But the Panenka doesn't stop at penalties. Messi has even developed a technique where he can dink the ball over the wall and into the net from a free-kick.

20 – The nutmeg

Scoring through a keeper's legs might be dismissed as luck, but not when you spend a career repeating the trick. He nutmeged Courtois twice in one game last season!

Related: BarcelonaL. Messi