Lionel Messi’s top 10 most memorable performances

Lionel Messi, often touted as of the two extra terrestrial GOATS that have graced us to play the beautiful game. He has left a permanent mark on the world’s most beloved sport as Messi is an adjective not a noun used to describe excellence in Football especially for an attacking player anytime they perform well. 

From conquering multiple Ballon d’Or awards to finally getting his hands on and lifting the World Cup with Argentina, Messi’s journey has been a rollercoaster of extraordinary achievements and unforgettable moments. Time to relive some of the many countless moments that Lionel Messi has given us all.

10. Making Jerome Boateng a dancer in the Champions League Semifinals (May 6, 2015)

Lionel Messi Making Jerome Boateng a dancer in the Champions League Semifinals (May 6, 2015)
Lionel Messi(Left) & Jerome Boateng(Right) (Credit -

Messi’s greatness is not earmarked by his physical stature and prowess but by his extraordinary skill and football intelligence. In the 2015 Champions League semi-finals against Bayern Munich, he left defender Jerome Boateng for dead with a crossover move that would make NBA legends like Kobe and LeBron proud.

This moment captured Messi’s ability to make world-class defenders look like Pub Team players with his mesmerizing skills.

9. Messi’s First Hat-Trick in El Clásico, the first of many (March 10, 2007)

Messi’s First Hat-Trick in El Clásico, the first of many (March 10, 2007)
Lionel Messi (Credit -

A defining moment in Messi’s early career came in 2007 when, at the tender age of 19 years old, he scored a hat trick against arch-rivals Real Madrid in El Clásico. In a soap opera like game where Barcelona trailed three times, Messi answered each time, including a 91st-minute equalizer.

This performance was  his introduction to the many tales of El Classico saga for the young Argentine, showcasing his flair for the dramatic on the biggest stage.

8. Messi opens his UCL Final Goal Account (May 27, 2009)

Messi opens his UCL Final Goal Account (May 27, 2009)
Lionel Messi (Credit - UCL Official)

After missing out on the the 2006 Champions League Final due to injury, Lionel Messi made his mark on club football’s biggest stage three years later. In the 2009 final against Manchester United, Messi rose high for a rare header considering he is not known for his ariel threat, scoring Barcelona’s second goal in a 2-0 victory. This victory also marked the beginning of Messi’s Ballon d’Or-winning seasons, cementing his status as a football legend.

7. Maradona-esque Goal vs. Getafe (April 8, 2007)

The goal that made Messi immortal was scored 15 years ago - feeling old yet?
Credit -

Among Messi’s numerous compilation worthy goals, one against Getafe in the Copa del Rey stands out. Mirroring Diego Maradona’s famous “Goal of the Century” in 1986, Messi went on a solo run from his own half, dribbling past defenders with close control, before rounding the goalkeeper and scoring from a  pretty tight angle. This goal not only showcased Lionel Messi’s technical brilliance but also in a way ended paid homage to his Argentine predecessor.

6. Messi’s Five-Goal Carnage in the Champions League (March 7, 2012)

Messi hits record five as Barcelona rout Bayer Leverkusen in Nou Camp
Lionel Messi (Credit - CNN)

Scoring a hat trick in a Champions League match is impressive, but Messi took it a step further against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 by scoring an unprecedented five goals.

The variety in his goals was just like a full course meal for the neutrals and Barca fans alike which including scrumptious chips, an angled dart into the far corner, and a curled blast from outside the box, once again giving us proof of Messi’s unparalleled skill and ability to dominate on the grandest stage.

5. Copa America Clinched by Argentina (July 10, 2021)

Lionel Messi's Argentina beats Brazil for Copa America title
Credit - FIFA Official

Despite years of individual success in Europe, Messi was often chastised faced for not being able to replicate the same with the Argentine national team. In 2021, he finally delivered, helping Argentina secure the Copa America.

This triumph was not just a personal block he managed to overcome but a historic moment for Messi and his country, proving that he could indeed  be a leader and lead his nation to major international honours.

4. Messi Wins Record Sixth Ballon d’Or (December 2, 2019)

Messi wins record sixth Ballon d'Or as Rapinoe takes women's prize - CGTN
Lionel Messi (Credit - CGTN)

The never ending Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo debate was a focal point in soccer circles for 15 years. Messi settled the argument, at least on a temporary basis, by winning his record sixth Ballon d’Or in 2019.

With seven Ballon d’Ors to his name now, Messi’s individual brilliance continues to shine, establishing him as the standard for football excellence.

3. Shirt Off Celebration in El Clasico (April 23, 2017)

Messi's Shirt Off Celebration in El Clasico (April 23, 2017)
Lionel Messi (Credit - Barcelona FC)

While Messi has numerous accomplishments which cannot be counted on fingers(both hand and feet included), the goal, performance, and celebration in El Clasico against Real Madrid in 2017 stand out as an iconic moment. It is now being replicated by the next generation of superstars and football enthusiasts alike. Tied 2-2 in one of the best Clásicos ever, Messi netted the game-winner in the 92nd minute, marking his 500th career goal for Barcelona.

The post goal celebration of removing his jersey and holding it up became an unforgettable banter moment, etching this moment in football history and us witnessing Messi showing of his ability to also wind up his opponents and their fans.

2. Breaking Gerd Müller’s Single-Season Goal Record (2012)

Messi beats Muller's 40-year goal record
Lionel Messi (Credit - CNN)

The year 2012 when the world did not end but the record for most goals in a single year definitely did as we all witnessed Lionel Messi at his absolute best till then. In an astonishing display of skill and goal-scoring prowess, he amassed an astonishing haul 91 goals in 69 games for both Barcelona and Argentina. This incredible feat ended up surpassing Gerd Müller’s once-unbreakable record of 85 goals in a calendar year (set in 1972) and cemented Messi’s status as a goal-scoring phenomenon.

1. World Cup Final x Messi : A Saga for The Ages (December 18, 2022)

World Cup Final x Messi : A Saga for The Ages (December 18, 2022)
Lionel Messi (Credit - FIFA Official)

December 18, 2022, the day Messi had the night of his life and completed football by leading Argentina Cup glory in Qatar. A  performance where he turned back the clock at the age of 35, Messi scored two goals and calmly converted a crucial penalty kick in the final against France like it was just some friends having a kickabout in the park.

This era defining achievement not only ended Argentina’s 36-year-long World Cup drought but also catapulted Messi from a superstar to a deity in his homeland if he was not already.

Lionel Messi’s career has been a treasure of countless such unforgettable moments, each contributing to his legacy as one of the greatest football players in history. From goals and assists that make history to record-breaking achievements that break them, Messi’s performances have transcended the sport, leaving an indelible mark that is almost akin to being in a meditative state and  his tales will be told by many long after he has left the 90 yards forever. As football enthusiasts, we must count our lucky stars to witness the magic of Messi, a player whose impact on the beautiful game is beyond science.

Cover Credits - CGTN

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