The Science Behind Lionel Messi's Perfect Free-Kick Technique Is Seriously Impressive
Lionel Messi has more free-kick goals over the last four La Liga seasons than any other team in Europe's top five leagues, beating entire clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich and PSG.
He has perfected this iconic technique in years gone by, honing his craft day in, day out.
Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets confirmed earlier this month that he's just as consistent in training as he is in games: "Even training he keeps on scoring that high percentage of free-kicks. You can't compare him to any player. He's just the best."
So what are the secrets behind his free-kick technique, and how has he become the best dead-ball specialist in world football?
Messi pampers the ball, raises his head, arches his body and hoists the ball into the net, according to MARCA, but the science behind the set-piece is more detailed than you think.
The report details that Messi changed his way of hitting a ball in training early on, using plastic dolls as a barrier between him and the goal.
Messi's leg when taking a free-kick has an angle of 50 degrees. He plants almost his entire boot on the ground before hitting the ball, giving him stability and control in the shot.
' GOAL! '- Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) December 8, 2018
He's done it again!
Lionel Messi has scored another free-kick, he is not human. :alien: pic.twitter.com/JZxyI6CCXJ
Then, to improve his accuracy, Messi arches his shoulders and chest to caress the ball, hunching his body to a more compact position.
SPORT asked some experts in the field about his set-piece genius. The Department of Physics at the University of Barcelona said he uses the Magnus Effect to find his consistency from free kicks.
This effect is the phenomenon by which the rotation of a body (the ball) generates a force perpendicular to the line of motion, therefore affecting the trajectory.
According to the report, the pressure on the lower surface of the body (the ball) is greater than the pressure on the upper surface, resulting in a force curve trajectory of the body (in this case the ball).
He does this better than anyone else in world football. Just look at the consistent technique used here.
Messi can score free-kicks from pretty much anywhere, and he revealed the trick to being consistent at free-kicks is to keep the goalkeeper guessing, and to never be predictable.
"Yes. To be honest, I like to hit the ball over the players' wall but from time to time I like to mix it up a little bit so that the goalkeeper doesn't know where I'm going and I want to keep him confused until I kick." he told ESPN.
"I think for that reason I like to keep the goalkeeper in doubt."
Go and try this technique at home and you're sure to improve at free-kicks.
This is the master, after all.
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