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Lionel Messi has perfected incredible free-kick technique that involves 'spraining his ankle'

Josh Lawless

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Lionel Messi has perfected incredible free-kick technique that involves 'spraining his ankle'

Lionel Messi's free-kick technique is one of the most aesthetically pleasing things in football and the science behind it is mindblowing.

Messi is so precise from set-pieces that free-kicks are almost like penalties and he's scored a staggering sixty of them for club and country.

Fifty were scored for Barcelona, nine for Argentina and one for current club Paris Saint-Germain - that coming in a 2-1 win over Nice in October.

Messi's dead-ball accuracy is that good that some teams resorted to putting players on the line to stop him finding the net.

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But how has Messi been so successful from all ranges and angles? Well, Dr Rajpal Brar has some serious insight into Messi's technique and his totally unique way of striking the ball.

"When Messi strikes the ball, he shifts his hip to the right. He really moves his hips to the right as he's striking to open up his left strike leg," the doctor told the Squawka podcast.

"And what that does on his plant leg is that it shifts all the weight to the outside of the foot. So then when he follows through and he's striking the ball - that left leg coming from left to right - now everything is going onto the outside of his ankle almost like what happens when you sprain your ankle.

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"We call it 'inversion sprain' when it twists inwards - it's that same force. You have all that force on the outside of your ankle and it twists inwards. But in Messi's case, he's trained himself and his body to control that motion."

The position of his standing foot is as he hits the ball is anything but normal and looks rather painful for your average. But Messi, a seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has mastered this technique to quite extraordinary levels.

An in-depth report from MARCA detailed how Messi changed his way of hitting a ball in training early on, using plastic dolls as a barrier between him and the goal.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy
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Messi's leg when taking a free-kick has an angle of 50 degrees. He plants almost his entire boot on the ground before hitting the ball, giving him stability and control in the shot.

Then, to improve his accuracy, Messi arches his shoulders and chest to caress the ball, hunching his body into a more compact position.

SPORT asked some experts in the field about his set-piece genius. The Department of Physics at the University of Barcelona said he uses the 'Magnus Effect' to find his innate consistency from free-kicks.

This effect is the phenomenon by which the rotation of a body (the ball) generates a force perpendicular to the line of motion, therefore affecting the trajectory.

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Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

According to the report, the pressure on the lower surface of the body (the ball) is greater than the pressure on the upper surface, resulting in a force curve trajectory of the body.

Messi really isn't human and he simply has to be the greatest free-kick taker of all time.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Argentina

Josh Lawless
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