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Messi reaches 650 Barcelona goals with free-kick against Athletic Club

01-Feb-2021, 06:08 am

Messi Barcelona Athletic LaLiga

Lionel Messi netted his 650th career goal for Barcelona with a first-half free-kick in Sunday's 2-1 win over Athletic Club.

Barca would find the winner with 15 minutes to play as Antoine Griezmann finished off a cross from Oscar Mingueza to seal victory.

Messi reached the 650-goal milestone for Barca on the same day the club threatenedto take legal action against El Mundo after the newspaper publishedthe details of his€555 million (£491m/$674m) contract.

The club legend was able to shift his focus toon-field matters by scoring his 49th direct free-kick for Barca, with 38 of those coming in La Liga.

Messi has now scored two direct free-kick goals from his last four attemptsin all competitions, after netting just one from his previous 62 attempts.

Barcelona moved up to second place with Sunday's win but they are still 10 points behind Diego Simeone's high-flying Atletico Madrid side, who have also played one game fewer than the Blaugrana.

Catching Atletico will prove a major challenge in what could be Messi's final season at Barca, as his contract enters its final six months.

Speaking to Movistar after the match,Griezmann saluted his team-mate, who has been key to his side winning five consecutive matches in La Liga.

"Messi is a legend, we are enjoying him, and hopefully he will keep helping uswin," the France international said.

Griezmann also had praise for his international team-mate Ousmane Dembele, who has overcome an injury earlier in the season to start five Liga games in a row for Barca.

"Dembele is playing very well," Griezmann added. "We just want to get him in the best shape as possible so he can help us as much as possible."

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