Lionel Messi has scored 507 goals for Barcelona but there is one that stands out as his personal favourite.
The 36-year-old put on the final gem of his footballing career in December, winning the World Cup for the first time at Qatar 2022.
He added it to his many honors before signing for Inter Miami this summer.
Messi has collected 44 trophies during his career, making him the most decorated player of all time.
Among that long list of honors are four Champions Leagues, with Messi scoring 129 goals in the competition for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain – 120 for Barca – giving him the tournament’s second-highest tally, 11 behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
But of the goals scored for Barca in the competition, Messi revealed the one that sticks in his mind as his favourite: his goal against Manchester United in the UCL final.
Alex Ferguson’s side fell to the Catalan giants in 2009 when Samuel Eto’o and Messi both scored en route to lifting the trophy.
But beyond the fact that the Argentine sealed the Champions League victory, it was the nature of the goal that made it even more incredible.
Standing 1.70m tall, Messi has scored just 26 headers in his career and, in this final, it was his header, rather than his magical left foot, that secured victory.
As Man United looked for another goal, they lacked defense and a weak clearance from Edwin van der Sar was cut off by Carles Puyol.
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He sent the ball to Eto’o on the right side of the penalty area and the ball was sent to Xavi at the entrance to the box.
From there he crossed for Messi, who rose to send a looping header over the United keeper and into the other side of the goal.
Speaking to Four Four Two in 2017, Messi said: “It was hard to imagine that I would have a chance to score with a header with a defender like Ferdinand near me, but I saw that nobody marked me and the ball stabilized so I could shoot.
“When Xavi’s ball was in the box, I could already see myself scoring and, thank God, it was possible,” the star said.
Despite still picking up a winners’ medal, 18-year-old Messi missed the 2006 final against Arsenal with a hamstring injury.
But it turns out that the absence of this confrontation has made the lead against Man United even sweeter.
“It was a very important goal from every point of view: for the team, for the way this final went and for me. It’s one of my favorite goals,” he said. declared.
“After missing the 2006 final through injury, it was very special to play in that final and score. It capped off a season in which we won everything.”
Man United legend Rio Ferdinand, who was thwarted by the Argentine for the goal, admitted he was still haunted by the moment.
“It’s something that’s been haunting me for years. I can’t believe we’re talking about this now,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“I bet Xavi couldn’t beat me at the near post. I thought the quality wouldn’t be quite there. You have to know your players.
“But no, the best players rise to the big occasions and Messi has done that time and time again.”
Barca also won La Liga and the Spanish Cup that year, with Messi scoring 38 goals in all competitions that year.
He is currently recruiting them for Inter Miami, scoring 11 goals in as many appearances.