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When Lionel Messi Scored The Most Controversial Goal Of His Career - The 'Hand Of God'

When Lionel Messi Scored The Most Controversial Goal Of His Career - The 'Hand Of God'

Lionel Messi took a page out of Diego Maradona's playbook.

Ryan Sidle

Ryan Sidle

Diego Maradona 'invented' the 'Hand of God' goal but the heir to his throne Lionel Messi also scored his own version back in 2008.

Maradona will always be hated by England fans, and loved by Scotland fans, for his goal in the 1986 World Cup quarter final that was scored with his hand as he purposely punched the ball beyond Peter Shilton, but he's not the only Argentina forward to do the trick.

In 2008, chasing Real Madrid in the title race, Messi used his hand in the Barcelona derby against Espanyol to equalise, a moment of foul play that didn't go down well with the visiting side.

Messi's goal was a 43rd minute equaliser, after Raul Tamudo had put Espanyol ahead just 13 minutes earlier, but it was far from enough for the Catalan giants.

At the time they were level on points with rivals Real but Los Blancos had beaten their rivals at the Bernabeu earlier in the season and, coupled with the 3-3 draw in the second Clasico at the Nou Camp just weeks before the Espanyol game, led the title race on head-to-head record.

Fabio Capello's side found themselves 1-0 down to Real Zaragoza at the same time Messi equalised and, at half time of the penultimate games of the season, Barca were back on top.

Messi put Frank Rijkard's side in front for the first time in the match just 12 minutes after half time and Ruud van Nistelrooy levelled things up in the same minute in Real's game.

Diego Milito scored his second of the game for Zaragoza in the 64th minute and suddenly the title race pendulum swung fully in Barcelona's direction.

However it all changed again in an incredible 18 seconds of play. In Zaragoza Van Nistelrooy levelled things up at 2-2 in the 89th minute and just moments later in Barcelona Tamoudo made it 2-2 in the derby.

In the final game of the season Barca battered Gimnastic 5-1 whilst Real struggled against Mallorca before goals from Mamadou Diarra and Jose Antonio Reyes led to a 3-1 win as they captured the title.

For Messi it proved that crime doesn't always pay, unlike Maradona's goal, which eventually led to Argentina being crowned World Cup winners.

Featured Image Credit: La Liga

Topics: Football, Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona