Lionel Messi’s remarkable free kick stat compared to Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil

Lionel Messi has now scored eight direct free kicks this season – as many as two of the other top-10 best-paid footballers have goals of any type combined.

Barcelona icon Lionel Messi has remarkably scored as many direct free kicks this season as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have scored any type of goals combined.

Messi hit the 600-goal landmark for Barcelona with a stunning 30-yard free kick against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday – his second of the night to take the tie away from Liverpool.

It was also the 31-year-old’s eighth goal direct from a free kick this season, which is twice as many as any other player has managed in Europe’s top five leagues.

Incredibly, that means that Messi has scored as many goals from direct free kicks alone as Sanchez and Ozil have scored of any type in 2018-19.

Sanchez and Ozil were recently named among the top 10 highest-paid footballers in the world by monthly wage according to L’Equipe, but have endured underwhelming campaigns with Manchester United and Arsenal respectively.

Sanchez has scored just two goals in 26 appearances for United this season, whereas Ozil has netted six times in 32 games.

By contrast, Messi – who tops the list of best-paid players – has notched 48 times in 46 outings across all competitions in 2018-19.

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