Speaking with France Football after winning the 2021 Ballon d’Or, PSG forward Lionel Messi (34) discussed his on-pitch improvisation and explained: “I have no problem scoring ugly goals.”
Against Arsenal, in the Champions League round of 16 second leg in 2011, you found yourself facing goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and, in a fraction of a second, you poke the ball over him and score another great goal. Is this the kind of thing you repeat a lot in training or is it more instinctive?
“No, it just comes to me. It’s difficult to prepare or imagine this kind of goal on a daily basis. It’s an action like no other, something that doesn’t happen often. I train and try to improve myself every day but this kind of thing happens naturally. I have never changed the way I play since I was little. Things come to me spontaneously, depending on the circumstances, on the playing situation. That evening, I felt that it was the best way to score, so I did it.”
Many players are looking for efficiency. Many of your goals, however, are remembered for their beauty… Are the aesthetics as important as the result in your eyes?
“No, and I have no problem scoring ugly goals. There are different styles of attacking… I am used to starting further away from goal, that’s the reason why I score different goals.”