array(2) { ["nofollow"]=> string(1) "1" ["id"]=> string(1) "7" }


Lionel Messi scored his 50th ever free kick against Real Valladolid, and it might just be his best to date

Lionel Messi scored the 50th free kick of his career on Tuesday as FC Barcelona thrashed Real Valladolid 5-1 at the Camp Nou.

The Argentine was presented with the dead ball in the 34th minute after Vallodolid midfielder Anuar Tuhami clumsily bought down Nelson Semedo 30 yards from goal.

It was an error that proved to be fatal as Messi stepped up, as he so often does, and brilliantly bent the ball into the top right hand corner of the net, sending Ernesto Valverde's side into a 3-1 lead.

So confident was the 32-year-old that he'd scored, he nonchalantly strolled away to celebrate before the ball had even hit the back of Jordi Masip's net. It might just be his best free kick to date.

You can watch Messi's stunning effort here:

The goal means Messi has now scored a half century of career free kicks — 44 of which have come for Barcelona and six for the Argentine national team.

It's a total that puts him in an elite league of players to have hit 50 free kick goals in their careers, including David Beckham (65), Ronaldinho (66), and long term rival Cristiano Ronaldo (54).

The crown of the best dead ball specialist in history belongs to former Olympique Lyonnais and Brazil midfielder Juninho Pernambucano however, who scored 77.

The goal capped off a brilliant night for Messi and Barca

Barcelona's win saw it regain top spot in La Liga, and extended its lead over Real Madrid, who currently reside in sixth place, to four points.

Defender Clement Lenglet opened the scoring for the home side after just two minutes when he rattled in a superb volley after a poor clearance from Vallodolid's Joaquin Fernandez.

The visitors leveled through Kiko after 15 minutes, however from then on in it was a Messi masterclass.

The Argentine provided a brilliant assist for Arturo Vidal to restore Barca's lead after half an hour, chipping the ball over the head of two defenders for the Chilean to prod home, before making it 3-1 shortly after with his fine free kick.

Then, 15 minutes from time, Messi added his second with another moment of magic — finding space between the Vallodolid back line, before controlling Ivan Rakitic's pass with his knee, turning, and rifling home on the half-volley.

The rout was completed just two minutes later when Messi fed Luis Suarez to score Barcelona's fifth and his eight of the season in all competitions.

After the match, Ernesto Valverde was lost for words at Messi's display.

"What else can be said about him? I've run out of words," the Spaniard said, according to MARCA.

"We always know that he will appear, whatever the match. His talent isn't comparable to anything; the reality is that every time he touches the ball, something special happens.

"I just don't know what to say."

Barcelona next take on Levante on Saturday, November 2.

Read more:

Lionel Messi has been twice as good as Cristiano Ronaldo in the modern era, according to a computer algorithm

2 teenage soccer stars who once played together as children could soon become the sport's biggest rivals since Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

The man who discovered 12-year-old Lionel Messi made him sign a contract on a paper napkin because he 'couldn't let him get away'

Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly makes more money being an influencer on Instagram than he does playing soccer for Juventus

FC Barcelona still owes Liverpool $104 million for the 2018 transfer of Philippe Coutinho, but the Premier League club is unlikely to see it