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For the past 16 years teams have tried, and usually failed, to come up with ways of trying to stop Lionel Messi and on Friday night Sevilla came up with the latest ploy.
Messi has scored 699 career goals and on Friday was hoping to reach the incredible 700 milestone when Barcelona faced Sevilla in La Liga.
Julen Lopetegui's side have been on the end of Messi goals more often than any other so the six time Ballon d'Or winner had every right to feel confident he'd reach the target, but that wasn't the case.
That was partially down to the opposition's tactics at free kicks with one man from the wall furiously backpedaling towards the goal, like you'd normally find in FIFA 20.
One man lying behind the wall, another sprinting back to the goal line :eyes:- Premier Sports :tv: (@PremierSportsTV) June 19, 2020
These are the precautions that need to be taken when Messi steps up for a free kick ♂
And they worked for Sevilla this time! :clap: pic.twitter.com/q0uc77xV8N
Sevilla had like 2 extra players to cover for Messi free-kick :joy:. One laying down and Kounde running backwards to cover that near post... pic.twitter.com/yYHrKx9gP6- Ariwa_for_the_Girls (@Ariwabeautician) June 19, 2020
Sevilla defending Messi free kick involving both Kounde backpedalling to the line and Reguilon lying prone on the ground behind the wall. Now with foto: pic.twitter.com/RyYGFlt7yJ- Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) June 19, 2020
Messi has scored an incredible 54 free kick goals in his career so it's no wonder that the opposition last night decided to employ some rather unconventional tactics.
The 32-year-old still nearly scored as well and the defender was very much needed on the line.
Despite his impressive stats so far in his career, the Argentina forward isn't on the top 10 list of all time top free kick scorers and needs another five to get on the list.
Despite the lack of goals Messi was still in the thick of the action and was actually lucky to stay on the pitch when he looked to have potentially punched Sevilla defender Diego Carlos.
The 0-0 draw meant that Barca moved three points clear of rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table before Los Blancos play at the weekend.
Should Zinedine Zidane's beat Real Sociedad on Sunday then they'd go top of the table due to a better head-to-head record than Barca, having beaten them in the most recent Clasico and drawn earlier in the season.
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