By 90Min
November 28, 2018

What do Roswell in New Mexico and the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid have in common?

Both locations have potentially witnessed extra terrestrial activity. 

While Roswell witnessed an infamous UFO incident in 1947, the Wanda Metropolitano with Lionel Messi's Cruyff turn nutmeg on Saturday night.

The Argentinian number 10 had been at it again. Like a successful illusionist, he has people once again collectively scratching their heads and asking: 'how did he do that?'

His stage on this occasion was the home of Barcelona's title rivals Atletico Madrid, the Wanda Metropolitano. His audience, just over 66,000 soon-to-be gob smacked spectators and millions of viewers from around the world. His unwilling volunteer in his latest piece of trickery, Atletico Madrid's Brazilian full back Filipe Luis.

The skill highlighted magic man Messi's remarkable awareness of the space around him, and where opposition players are.

The Argentinian - before receiving the ball - was positioned just inside the opposition half and fairly close to the touch line on the right side of the field. 

Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

The ball was looped clear by the Barcelona backline in the direction of Messi, who had Filipe Luis, Saul Niguez and Luis Hernandez in close proximity. Due to the trajectory of the ball, Messi's first touch was a slightly off balance leap to header the ball straight into the sky. 

Messi's header gave the Atletico players a couple of seconds to surround him, and to cut off any potential out ball; which against most players, would have been enough. However...this is Lionel Messi we are talking about.

Whilst the Atletico players took to their positions, Messi prepared himself to control the ball as it began to drop towards the earth. 

Messi adjusted his position to receive the ball, turning his back to Luis, and shielding the defender from the area in which the ball would be bouncing.

Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

As the ball descends from the sky, the attacker controls it with the top of his boot - and in one touch - rolls it backwards, in Cryuff style towards Luis. He then successfully spun, and nutmegging the hapless defender in the process.


The skill only contained one touch. However it also involved plenty of quick thinking, positional intelligence and ball control. Many players in a similar position may have taken the ball down and attempted to hold it up and find a teammate. 


However, Messi saw something different.


He sensed the space behind him, even when he had not looked to see if it was there. He executed the perfect flick on a dropping ball and lost his marker, of whom he never even directly laid his eyes upon. He also, once again, left us all completely dumbfounded.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)