Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the best set-piece masters in the world, having improved upon his skill in recent years. A new report reveals that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has trained his body such that he sprains his own ankle while aiming for a perfect free-kick.
Lionel Messi scored his 50th career free-kick this season, a rare milestone achieved by a select few. The Argentine international has been showered with praise due to the free-kick technique that he deploys to swing the ball past the goalkeeper. His sensational free-kick against Liverpool in the semi-final of the Champions League was one such example.
According to health professional Dr Rajpal Brar, Lionel Messi’s free-kick relies on the way he twists his ankle. While speaking on the Squawka podcast, he revealed that when Messi strikes the ball, he shifts his hip to the right. This movement helps him open up his left strike leg, shifting all the weight to the outside of the foot, said the doctor.
When Lionel Messi follows through while striking the ball, everything appears to be focused on his ankle just like the time when a person sprains his ankle. This technique was referred to as ‘inversion sprain’ by the doctor. However, this technique ought not to be an easy one, as it is likely to lead to an ankle injury.
Earlier, former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde revealed Lionel Messi's tactics during the games. He claimed that Messi avoids the ball in the initial minutes of the game. He tries to understand the movement of the opponents, trying to study their weaknesses, which helps him later in the game.