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Lionel Messi Almost Scoring Is More Impressive Than Most Actual Goals

A player broadly similar to Lionel Messi might've been what Johan Cruyff imagined Barcelona would produce after implementing his philosophy, but not even the Dutchman could've foreseen this Argentine's specific genius. I mean, try to prevent your jaw from dropping when he merely gets close to scoring:


At the top of the box with two defenders practically on top of him and another in front, Messi spins back to create a little space. Eibar quickly remind him that the entire defense is focused solely on stopping him when a fourth defender, this one just behind him, charges down at him.

Messi could probably pass it off and reset the attack, but he instead decides to curl around again, pretty much running in a circle and losing four markers. This sprint takes him into the center of the box, and before a fifth player can block him off, he whips his leg through the ball for a shot destined to hit the top corner. Somehow the goalkeeper manages to deflect it.

Though Eibar's keeper, Xabi Irureta, and his individual heroics were the only thing keeping him from hitting at least a hat trick, Messi, with a little help from Neymar, was still able to bring Ray Hudson to completion when one of his shots did find the back of the net:


El clásico is next week, you say? Should be a good game.

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