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Lionel Messi’s 10 Most Iconic Career Moments As Ranked By BBC Sports

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Lionel Messi has had so many iconic moments in his career – with 627 goals and 34 trophies for Barcelona as well as six Ballons d’Or.

We have picked what we think are his 10 most iconic moments for Barcelona and Argentina. You can rank the 10 after going through them or just pick the one moment that stands out most for you. Enjoy!
Ogbiwa

1. Messi’s first hat-trick

Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid, 10 March 2007

Messi’s first career hat-trick came in one of the biggest fixtures in football. The teenager scored all of Barca’s three goals in a 2007 Clasico – his first at the Nou Camp – including a brilliant last-minute finish after beating a couple of defenders.

This was arguably the moment he became a household name.

Barcelona 5-2 Getafe, 18 April 2007

Messi’s goal in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg 13 years ago remains arguably his greatest strike.

In a goal with remarkable similarities to Diego Maradona’s (non-handball) strike against England in the 1986 World Cup, Messi picked the ball up in his own half, beat about five defenders, went round the goalkeeper and then slotted home.

3. Messi’s first Champions League final goal

Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United, 27 May 2009

If you can believe it, there was a time when people questioned whether Messi could do it against English clubs in Europe. He had failed to score in 10 Champions League appearances against English sides before the 2009 final.

But there were no doubts any more when Messi rose highest in the box to head home Xavi’s cross in his first Champions League final – and the first game billed as Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo.

Two years later he would score in another final win over United – the third of his four Champions League winners’ medals.

4. Messi scores four goals against Arsenal

Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal, 6 April 2010

Messi scored four goals for the first time in his career as he took Arsenal to the cleaners in the 2010 Champions League quarter-final. The pick of the bunch was his chip over Manuel Almunia for his hat-trick.

An honourable mention goes to his five-goal haul against Bayer Leverkusen in a 7-1 win in the last 16 two years later.

He is the second top scorer in Champions League history with 114, behind Ronaldo.

5. Messi breaks Barcelona scoring record

Barcelona 5-3 Granada, 20 March 2012

Messi broke Barcelona’s goalscoring record at the age of 24 – the only way he knows how, with a hat-trick.

He equalled Cesar Rodriguez’s record of 232 goals with his first against Granada, broke it with his second and extended the record with the third.

Messi, now 32, is on 627 Barcelona goals and counting (when La Liga restarts) – almost 400 clear of anybody else.

6. Messi scores 91 goals in a calender year

Real Valladolid 1-3 Barcelona, 22 December 2012

Even by the remarkable goalscoring exploits of Messi and Ronaldo, the Argentine’s record-breaking 2012 still seems implausible – 91 goals in a calendar year.

He netted 79 goals for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina – in a total of 69 games for club and country.

It was enough to earn Messi an unprecedented fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or – even though he only won the Copa del Rey in 2012 for all those goals.

7. Messi wins World Cup golden ball

Germany 1-0 Argentina, 13 July 2014

In theory this should have been one of Messi’s greatest moments – being named the best player in a World Cup. His lack of a senior international trophy (he won the 2008 Olympics) is sometimes held against him in debates on the greatest player of all time.

But it was a strange decision, with many observers thinking he had underwhelmed in the knockout rounds, having scored four goals in the group stages. He was disappointing too in the final defeat by Germany.

Even then-Fifa president Sepp Blatter said he was “a little bit surprised” and Argentina legend Diego Maradona called the decision “unfair”.

That final defeat in Brazil may be the closest he ever comes to winning the World Cup as they went out in the quarter-finals four years later in Russia, despite his memorable goal against Nigeria.

Messi briefly retired from international football in 2016 after losing in the Copa America final for the third time, and again considered his future after the 2018 World Cup but he is still going on.

8. Messi breaks La Liga goalscoring record

Barcelona 5-1 Sevilla, 22 November 2014

Another goalscoring record broken – and another hat-trick to do it.

Messi equalled Telmo Zarra’s 251-goal record with a free-kick, before breaking it and stretching it with a third.

Messi is now on 438 La Liga goals, almost 200 clear of the old record, and more than 100 above Ronaldo – who was on 311 before he left Real Madrid for Juventus.

9. Messi’s 500th Barcelona goal comes in El Clasico

Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona – 23 April 2017

Sometimes a goal almost seems too perfect – and this was one of those. Messi popped up with an injury-time goal against Real in 2017, sweeping home a first-time shot from the edge of the area. It was an El Clasico winner, his 500th Barcelona goal and it sent Barca top of the table (although Real would go on to win the league).

For good measure, he pulled out an iconic celebration when he took off his shirt and held it out so the Bernabeu faithful could see his name.

10. Messi wins his sixth Ballon d’Or

Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or – a record – in December, taking him above Ronaldo’s five after scoring 54 times for club and country in 2018-19.

It was remarkably only his second since 2012 – with the other coming in 2015.

“I still have beautiful years ahead of me,” he said while collecting the award.

That’s it. Now you can take your pick. Salute to the little genius

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Micah Richards Brilliantly Responds To Claims He’s Only On TV Because Of BLM

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Micah Richards expertly ended any claims that he’s only been given the job as a television pundit on Sky Sports because of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

The former Manchester City defender is high on a lot of people’s lists of favourite pundits, with his infectious personality really coming through on Sky.

However some have claimed that Richards is their for tokenism and has only been put on television because of the BLM campaign.

On Monday Night Football, after covering his former team beat Wolves, Richards brilliantly rubbished those claims. “I’m in a privileged position and I did this through hard work. And the hard work that I’ve put in is not going to be tarnished,” the former England international said.

“I’ve got people on Twitter, people on Instagram, ‘Oh, Micah Richards is only on because of this whole Black Lives Matter movement’.

“But I’ve had conversations with corporations that I’ve worked for way before this.

“And now I’m getting tarnished with the same brush, ‘He’s only on TV because of Black Lives Matter’ – which is disheartening for me.

“Because I put in the work, I work every single day at my craft. I’ve been a professional footballer, I’ve won a Premier League, I’ve played at the highest level… and I’m still getting stones thrown at me.

“So if I’ve got to fly the flag, people want to thrown stones at me – I’ll happily take it. Because I know, I put in the work.”

Internet trolls attacked Richards, and fellow pundit Alex Scott, after it was revealed that Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier were leaving Soccer Saturday, even though they weren’t anything to do with the decision and weren’t the trios replacements.

Richards defended Scott, who has been linked with the Question of Sport presenter role, adding, “Alex Scott is incredible. She’s one of the best I’ve ever worked with and it’s even worse for her because she’s a woman, and she’s seen as black as well.

“It’s double jeopardy. She’s in a worse position. She is honestly one of the best pundits I have ever worked with and all you see on social media is: ‘Why is a woman working in men’s football? She doesn’t know.’

“She’s played however many times for England, she knows football inside out and more than most people, and to see the abuse that she gets just because someone’s left their job or not had their contracts renewed, it’s disheartening to see.

“But, at the same time, it just shows we’ve still got a problem and it’s that awkward conversation we all don’t want to have but we’ve got to have the conversation.”

BLM and the decision of players to take the knee was in discussion again after QPR director of football Les Ferdinand put out a statement explaining why the team didn’t take the knee at the weekend.

Richards was again excellent in discussing the issue and you can see the whole discussion in this video.

After listening to him speak on Monday, it would be impossible to think Richards is in his position for any other reason than he’s very good at his job.

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Premier League footballer anonymously reveals he’s gay in letter to Justin Fashanu Foundation

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A Premier League footballer has revealed he is gay but is too scared to come out publicly because of the stigma.

In an open letter to addressed to Justin Fashanu’s niece, Amal, who runs the Justin Fashanu Foundation, the anonymous star said living a secret life was having a ‘massive impact’ on his mental health.

He added that it was ‘virtually impossible’ to have a relationship.

It was also revealed that the footballer who has spoken to some of his teammates about his sexuality told Amal that he has known he is gay since he was 14.

In the letter first published by The Sun, the player wrote: ‘Even though society has moved on massively since I was a teenager, the game simply hasn’t.

‘Those running it need to put more measures in place so gay players know they will get the support they need.

‘The powers-that-be are only playing lip service to the issue.’

The letter comes after another anonymous gay player opened up about sexuality in a letter published by the newspaper back in July.

Ms. Amal Fashanu said that the player felt a ‘weight off his shoulders’ after reading that letter.

‘I hope to put the two in touch to discuss their situations,’ the 32-year-old activist said.

Justin Fashanu, ex-Norwich striker, killed himself in 1998, aged 37, eight years after coming out as Britain’s first gay player.

Since Justin’s passing, no professional footballers in the UK have come out as openly gay.

In 2019, Amal Fashanu founded the Justin Fashanu Foundation which focuses on Racism, Homophobia, and Mental Health in Football.

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Arsenal complete £1m deal to add goalkeeper Runarsson on four-year deal

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The Gunners have signed a new backup for Bernd Leno following Emiliano Martinez’s departure

Arsenal have completed the signing of Iceland international Runar Alex Runarsson, the club announced on Monday.

The goalkeeper signs on a four-year contract from French club Dijon, moving to the Emirates in the wake of Emiliano Martinez’s departure for Aston Villa.

With Martinez gone, Arsenal were in the market for a backup goalkeeper, with Runarsson making the move to London to fill that role in a deal worth just over £1 million (€1.1m/$1.3m).

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