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Messi vs Gaitan free-kick debate: Who did it best?

Messi vs Gaitan 'Panenka' free-kick debate: Who did it best?

March 30, 2019 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The Barca skipper produced an astonishing finish against Espanyol on Saturday. However, before his goal, there was Nico Gaitan's.

'The internet never forgets,' they say and, on Saturday, the memories of football fans were successfully jogged following a moment of genius by Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Just a day after his incredible solo-goal against Getafe in 2006/07 was named as the best in the history of his club, the 31-year-old Argentine gave fans enough to possibly reconsider their choice with yet another magnificent finish against Espanyol.

With Barcelona needing a goal after failing to break down the defense of their fellow Catalans in the first half, a deadball situation resulted in Lionel Messi producing a stunning opener in the 71st minute. Unlike his usual whipping free kick method, the Blaugrana skipper dipped into his bag of techniques to lift a 'Panenka free kick' over the opponent wall.

Although the ball was already on its way to possibly beat Diego Lopez in post, a slight deflection off Espanyol skipper Victor Sanchez sent the shot-stopper the wrong way. Check the goal below:

Justifiably so, the Barca No. 10's feat attracted plaudits and aroused euphoria across social media. However, a retro footage that has resurfaced on the internet indicates that Lionel Messi's effort may only be a refined replica of one produced by his compatriot Nico Gaitan five years ago.

In the 2013/2014 season, the Argentine attacker opened the scoring for Benfica in a 3:0 win over PAOK in the Europa League by scoring a Panenka free kick from 18 yards.

Watch the cheeky strike below:

With both goals posing to be extremely remarkable, it is quite hard to pinpoint whose should rank as the best. Be the judge!



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