‘Luckily enough, it went in’: Messi modest as free-kick brilliance has football world in raptures
Lionel Messi says he was “lucky” to score his stunning free-kick against Liverpool which handed Barcelona a 3-0 advantage in their UEFA Champions League semi-final.
Messi produced a moment of brilliance in the 82nd minute at the Camp Nou when he curled home a trademark left-footed free-kick into the top corner from around 25 yards out, past the despairing dive of Liverpool ‘keeper Alisson.
Even by Messi’s vertiginous standards, it was an incredible goal which was also a landmark 600th strike for the club – 14 years to the day since his first.Also on rt.com 'This guy is a god': Fans react to Messi's majestic free-kick as Barca star hits 600th goal
Despite the goal sending social media and the world’s press into delirium, the Argentine was modest after the game.
"It went in spectacularly well; I saw the spot and luckily enough, that's where it went," Messi said, Marca reported.
The goal was Messi’s second of the night, after he had earlier tapped in from close range after a Luis Suarez shot had hit the crossbar.
Suarez had given Barca the lead against his former club in the 26th minute when he darted between Liverpool defenders Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk to stab the ball home.
The scoreline appeared harsh on a Liverpool team who had excellent chances of their own through Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – who hit the post in the closing stages of the game.
But Messi rued an injury-time chance for substitute Ousmane Dembele, who could have made thescoreline 4-0 deep in injury time.
"Four [goals for Barcelona] would've been better than three but it's still a very good result," Messi said.
"Three-nil is a very good result. The tie is not decided because we are going to a historical stadium [Anfield] and it will demand a lot, but we are very satisfied."Also on rt.com Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool: Suarez & magical Messi do damage to seize big Champions League advantage
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was also left to admire Messi’s brilliance, but also reflect on a game in which his team had contained the Argentine for 75 minutes and looked to be heading to the return leg at Anfield with a minimal deficit.
"Messi? He is unstoppable because it is impossible to defend that free-kick," Klopp said after the game.
"Maybe the [finish to make it] 2-0 was not his best goal but it shows that he knows that he is in the right place; I am a great admirer of him, but we have defended him well."
Klopp added: "I don't know if we can play much better.
"I think it was the best away game in the Champions League – not only this year, last year included.
"I told the boys I'm proud of how we played. Against a side like this, playing this kind of football, I was completely happy.
"In the end, nobody is really interested – probably only football nerds will think about it - because it was about the result, and we lost 3-0.”
Liverpool host Barcelona in the second leg at Anfield on Tuesday, May 7, knowing that even an epic European night at their famous old stadium will likely not be enough to overcome the inimitable Argentinian star.