The curse of Lionel Messi
Today marks two years since Barcelona last scored a goal from a free-kick.
Curses in the world of football have been commonplace ever since Hungarian coach Béla Guttmann put a spell on Benfica after his sacking at the Portuguese club in the early 1960s.
“Without me, it will take Benfica a hundred years to become European champions again,” he said. And the truth is that 61 years later they have still not won a trophy in Europe.
No free-kicks since Messi’s departure
At Barcelona, another curse is beginning to take shape, and Lionel Messi is at the centre of it. Since the departure of the Argentine forward, no player at the club has managed to score a goal from a free-kick. Today, 2 May, marks two years since Barcelona’s last free-kick was scored against Valencia, by Messi himself.
Barcelona have had several free-kick specialists since then, including Memphis Depay, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Marcos Alonso and Raphinha. None of them have been able to find the net, with the Brazilian coming the closest, against Real Betis, but with an effort that Rui Silva was able to save well.
There have been a total of 33 free-kicks in the two years without Messi and zero success. A curse in every sense of the word that will surely be remedied with the return of the World Cup winner to Camp Nou.