On the 15th anniversary of Lionel Messi’s Barcelona debut, we look back on his finest goals for the Camp Nou club.
On October 16, 2004, Lionel Messi got his first taste of competitive senior football for Barcelona, coming on as a substitute for Deco against city rivals Espanyol.
Few watching at the time could have imagined quite what was to come from the Argentinian maestro, who has gone on to become arguably the greatest player of all time.
Messi’s influence at Barca has become unrivalled, scoring 604 times to become their all-time leading scorer.
Fittingly, the 15th anniversary of his Barca debut comes on the same day he was presented with the European Golden Shoe for last season, and we have looked back at 10 of his very best goals in action for Barcelona.
15 years ago he debuted with the first team … Today he will receive his sixth #GoldenShoe
The best in history. pic.twitter.com/SVeQLEVosO
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 16, 2019
Even at 17, Messi had the confidence of a veteran. Having already had one goal wrongly ruled out for offside – an audacious chip from the edge of the box – Messi’s focus was far from knocked and just a minute later he latched onto Ronaldinho’s scooped pass before lobbing the ball over Albacete stopper Raul Valbuena from 16 yards. Some way to open your account for one of Europe’s great clubs.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 13, 2017
In the 14 years since Messi first got on the scoresheet, one strike stands out as the best: his Diego Maradona-esque solo goal against Getafe. Messi picked up the ball in his own half and danced around two players before turning on the pace, beating two more defenders and going around the goalkeeper, capping it with a right-footed finish.
Vino de otro planeta para hacer cosas como estas…
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) April 18, 2018
Athletic Bilbao (A): April 27, 2013
Barca were in the midst of a Champions League semi-final shellacking from Bayern Munich when they arrived at San Mames. A goal down in a match that would eventually finish 2-2, Messi received possession from Thiago Alcantara, twisted past Mikel San Jose, Carlos Gurpegui and Ander Herrera with minimal space in which to operate before nonchalantly sidefooting home from just inside the penalty area.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) 27 October 2017
Messi rounded off a 5-0 procession at Camp Nou with a frankly absurd piece of technique. Cordoba defender Jose Angel Crespo made glancing headed contact with Jordi Alba’s searching cross from the left that might ordinarily have averted danger. But Barca’s star man pulled the ball down with his left foot, swivelled 180 degrees and crashed right footed past Juan Carlos at the goalkeeper’s near post.
Bayern Munich (H): May 6, 2015
Having already opened the scoring three minutes earlier to give Barca a 1-0 advantage over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, Messi doubled his tally with a sumptuous effort. Ivan Rakitic’s pass sent Messi on his way, before the little maestro’s trickery put Jerome Boateng on his backside and allowed the Argentine to casually lift the ball over the onrushing Manuel Neuer.
Athletic Bilbao (N): May 30, 2015
The second part of a treble-winning season for Barca came in the form of the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao. With 20 minutes gone and the score deadlocked, Messi set off on a marauding run down the right wing and soon found himself trapped among three defenders. Naturally, Messi was able to float past the trio as if they were not there, before cutting into the box and beating Iago Herrerin at his near post.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 21, 2018
El Clasico rarely disappoints for football fans around the globe, and this edition was no different. Anything but a win would essentially hand Real Madrid the title and it looked to be headed for a 2-2 draw until Sergi Roberto’s swashbuckling run in the 92nd minute gave Jordi Alba the chance to square it to Messi, who finished with aplomb from the edge of the area for his 500th Barcelona goal.
Real Sociedad (A): January 18, 2018
Over the past few years, Messi has really mastered the art of free-kick taking, with the skill being one of few to elude him in his younger days. This strike in a 4-2 LaLiga triumph at La Real last January showed just how far he has come, as he lined up a set-piece about 35 yards from goal and coolly curled it into the top-left corner, wrapping up victory for Barca, who had fallen 2-0 behind.
Real Betis – March 17, 2019
We have become so accustomed to Messi’s brilliance that he makes the extraordinary seem normal, but his hat-trick clincher in March’s 4-1 win at Real Betis was pure genius. After receiving a cut-back from Ivan Rakitic, he caressed a first-time chipped effort over Pau Lopez and in off the crossbar from about 18 yards when shooting through a crowded penalty area looked an impossibility.
An angle only he could find…
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) August 19, 2019