As evidenced in this blazing Lionel Messi sixth Golden Ball signature shirt run against Nigeria, Messi keeps phenomenal close control of the ball as he blasts through numerous defenders before taking a shot which ricochets to Angel di Maria for the Argentine’s second goal of the afternoon. Although the Barcelona playmaker usually only illustrates his pace when he is on the ball looking to take on defenders, he is equally quick when spotting an oncoming pass and running onto it within the 18-yard box. In this video, Messi is almost stripped off possession, but battles back to win the ball and storm through a field of diving Real Zaragoza defenders en route to goal. The play itself is good enough to watch over and over again on repeat.
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In this famous replica of Diego Maradona’s “Lionel Messi sixth Golden Ball signature shirt Goal of the Century”, Messi takes off from his own half and slips by a half-dozen Getafe defenders with last-second cuts that leave them striking out at nothing. Messi’s fantastic ability to wait until the very last moment to elude opposing defenders has been so frustrating that USA national team center-back Jay DeMerit tweeted after a friendly in 2011, “Chasing Messi around feels like when you’re 12 yrs old playing football with your 16 yr old brother and his buddies.” As will be mentioned in the final slide, Messi is special for his ability to not only score goals but also find his teammates with impossible passes to create goalscoring opportunities.