We can heap encomiums on encomiums on Messi for his amazing gifts on and off the ball but he also happens to have the sharpest footballing brain in the world.
A stubborn Atletico Madrid team that refused to be broken were undone by the quick witted maestro who launched his curling and deadly accurate free kick from wide on the left against the hapless Thibaut Courtois before Atletico’s players could get their feet set. Something similar happened with a Giggs free kick a few years ago against Lyon. In both instances the players protested being unprepared but the referee can’t protect against a lack of preparation, can he?
Barca went on to win against a very good Atletico side, 2-1 through Messi’s free kick keeping their very slim chances of a Liga title alive.