Leo Messi has got his season off to a fine start. He’s scored three goals in three official games - a header against Sevilla in the Super Cup and two goals from outside the area in the Liga debut at home to Betis.

It’s such long range goals that we’re focusing on here, because it’s something the Argentinian has down to a fine art. Since he joined the first team, he has scored 41 times from outside the opposition's penalty zone in open play, and that figure rises to 64 if we also include the 23 he has scored from direct free kicks.

Nine years of goals

The first of the 41 came in a league game with Tarragona in June 2007, following a fine assist from Deco. It took him a year before he performed the same trick in a Champions League match. The victims were FC Basel at the Camp Nou in November 2008.

Another curious stat is that his two strikes against Betis on Saturday mean that Messi has already topped his total number of goals from outside the area in the 2015/16 season.

Fourth brace from outside the box

It is not the first time that Messi has scored twice in one game from outside the area. Barça’s no.10 managed the same feat in March 2010 against Stuttgart in the Champions League second round. On top of that, he twice hit two against Sevilla from outside the box, once in November 2008 and again in February 2010.
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