Lionel Messi equals Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick record with double in hat-trick as Barcelona beat Celta Vigo in LaLiga

10 Nov

Lionel Messi was hailed by Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde after he equalled a Cristiano Ronaldo record in his side’s LaLiga win over Celta Vigo.

The Argentine superstar netter a hat-trick of goals from dead balls with two superb free-kicks following a penalty at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo
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And those two strikes saw him level Ronaldo’s effort of 34 in the Spanish top-flight.

With the Portuguese now playing for Juventus in Italy, Messi needs just one more goal from a free-kick to claim the record for himself which, given his technique, you would suggest is fairly likely.

The hat-trick, in a 4-1 win, came at a vital time for Barcelona following a loss to Levante last weekend and a 0-0 draw in the Champions League against Slavia Prague in midweek.

A Lionel Messi free-kick sails into the back of the net

And his manager was quick to praise his hero after the victory, which puts them top – ahead of Real Madrid – on goal difference.

“With Leo, anything is possible,” Valverde said. “This [taking free-kicks] is something that he has mastered to perfection.

“Because of this, the opponent can’t commit fouls on the edge of their own box. If they do, we try to take advantage.

“Messi, apart from scoring goals, has a commitment to the game.”

Barcelona had suffered an unexpected 3-1 defeat at Levante last weekend, and were then held to a goalless home draw by Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

“After losing, it’s nice to win. Even more so in a team like ours,” Valverde said in quotes reported by Marca.

“We had a damaging defeat the other day and we needed a win tonight.

Lionel Messi walks away with the hat-trick ball
Getty Images – Getty

“It was really difficult for us in the first half, with their high press that made it hard for us to play out and we didn’t have much rhythm in our play.”

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