Another year, another Champions League record for the irrepressible Lionel Messi. The Barcelona star scored the first goal in this season’s competition with a sublime free-kick against PSV, in the process becoming only the second player in history to score in 14 consecutive Champions League seasons. Only Real Madrid legend Raul can match Messi for longevity in Europe’s premier club competition and at 31-years-old, it’s inevitable that the Argentine will surpass him this time next year.
It was Messi’s 101st goal in the competition in total, although he still lags 19 behind his long-time adversary Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time pecking order. Barcelona were largely frustrated during the opening half an hour by a resilient PSV side who carried a real threat on the break through the likes of Hirving Lozano and Steven Bergwijn. The Dutch side’s good work was undone in the 32nd minute, however, when, following a foul on Ousmane Dembele, Messi stepped forward, caressed the ball over the defensive wall and beyond a despairing Jeroen Zoet. It was the eighth time Messi had scored direct from a free-kick in 2018, his best ever haul in a calendar year. Proof, if any were needed, that the best just keeps on getting better.
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