Messi proves worth with terrific free-kick | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 02, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:28 AM, February 02, 2021

Messi proves worth with terrific free-kick

Lionel Messi underlined his worth to Barcelona by scoring a sensational free-kick on Sunday but Atletico Madrid are in charge of La Liga after beating Cadiz to stand 10 points clear at the top of the table.

Messi's stunning effort in a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao had been matched by the Argentinian's friend and former team-mate Luis Suarez, who earlier curled in a superb free-kick of his own in Atletico's 4-2 victory over Cadiz. 

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Atletico end the weekend even further ahead after Real Madrid's defeat by Levante on Saturday, which means Zinedine Zidane's side are now level with Barca on points, both of them struggling to keep pace in the title race.

Barca's win at least maintains their momentum while Messi's 650th club goal may have carried extra satisfaction for the Argentinian, who had the details of his contract published in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Saturday night.

El Mundo claimed the deal signed by Messi in 2017 shows he could earn up to 555 million euros over its four years, describing it as "the colossal contract that ruined Barcelona".  "Someone has done it with bad intentions to cause problems," said Ronald Koeman. "You have to respect a player who has given so much to Spanish football and to this club. I didn't have any doubts that it wouldn't affect him on the pitch."

Few can argue with Messi's contribution in that regard, with the 33-year-old showing against Bilbao why the club have gone to such lengths to keep him.

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