Lionel Messi scores an extremely Lionel Messi free kick

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/players/lionel-messi" data-ylk="slk:Lionel Messi">Lionel Messi</a> produced another sick free kick. (AP Photo)
Lionel Messi produced another sick free kick. (AP Photo)


Really, it was just so Lionel Messi.

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I mean, just look at this damn thing. Short run-up. Whipped in. Off the underside of the bar and into the upper 90. Perfection.

Some context, if you’re weird and the goal alone isn’t enough for you.

Argentina, in spite of reaching three finals in three major tournaments in three straight summers – the 2014 World Cup, 2015 Copa America and 2016 Copa America Centenario – but losing all three, is in trouble in World Cup qualifying. In South America’s murderous marathon, it sat in sixth place going into the 12th round of matches, outside the spots that will clinch a direct place or a playoff berth for Russia in 2018.

The Argentines had a horrid beginning to their qualifying campaign. They won none of their first three games, then won four in a row. Now, they are once again on a four-game winless run, punctuated by a 3-0 humiliation at the hands of arch-rivals Brazil.

So, at home against Colombia, a direct rival for one of the spots at the World Cup, just two points ahead of the Argentines, Messi and his merry men needed a win rather badly.

In the ninth minute, Messi scored the cathartic free kick above, after his side had been shut out in its last two games. And then he only went and gave two assists in the comprehensive 3-0 victory.

The first, in the 22nd minute, was to Lucas Pratto, dropping a pinpoint cross onto his head.

The second, to Angel Di Maria in the 83rd minute, was superb as he won the ball high and delivered a gimme to his teammate.

But who cares about any of that?

Look at that freaking free kick! That’s a direct act of the Soccer Gods and their apostle Lionel Messi, our lord and savior in soccer.

Oh, with the win, Argentina is back up to fifth place and on course for the World Cup.

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.

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