Messi scores two free-kicks in a LaLiga game for first time

Lionel Messi scored two free-kicks in a LaLiga game for the first time in his career as the Barcelona superstar set another personal landmark.

Messi was unplayable as Barca thrashed Espanyol 4-0 in Saturday’s Catalan derby at RCDE Stadium, moving the leaders three points clear at the top of LaLiga.

The Barca captain opened the scoring with a set-piece from 25 yards before setting up Ousmane Dembele with some outrageous play on the edge of Espanyol’s box.

Messi was not involved in Barca’s third, Dembele turning provider for Luis Suarez, but he beat Diego Lopez with another free-kick after the break, this time from 30 yards.

It means Messi has scored two free-kicks in a LaLiga match for the first time, having taken his tally to nine set-piece strikes in league games for Barca this year.

That is four more than any club in Europe’s top-five leagues have managed collectively over the same period, while Messi also broke another LaLiga record against Espanyol.

Having reached double figures in league goals this season with his first free-kick, Messi became the first player in LaLiga history to score at least 10 goals in 13 straight seasons.

Messi this week placed fifth in the Ballon d’Or voting, behind Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Luka Modric, a decision Barca coach Ernesto Valverde described as “absurd”.

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