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Top 10 Lionel Messi Football Skills to Learn in 2021

Lionel Messi and football go in hand in hand and lots of kids grow up wanting to have skills like Messi. The Argentinian superstar doesn’t always use the flashiest tricks but his skill on the ball is unrivaled.

If you want to learn how to dribble like Messi and pull off some of the clever skills he likes to use in a match situation, then you are in the right place. The following article will detail some of Messi’s most common skills, when to use them and how to do them.

  1. The Lift

Use when – opponent attempts a slide tackle.

How to do it – This is as simple as skills get but it’s enormously effective if timed correctly. When an opponent slides in front of you to block you off, slow yourself down and place your foot at the base of the ball. Flick it up off the floor to evade the tackle and jump over to evade your opponent.

Difficulty – 3/10


  1. Chop Cut

Use when – changing direction quickly

How to do it – rather than pushing the ball with the outside of your foot to change direction, ‘chop’ the ball with a quick motion, making contact closer to the toe. This will allow the ball to move quicker than usual and makes changing direction even faster. It does take some getting used to, though.

Difficulty – 4/10


  1. Stop and Turn

Use when – being tightly marked to lose your marker

How to do it – when an opponent is getting tight and attempting to get around the front of you in the direction you are dribbling, use your body to shield the ball. Come to a stop by using your instep to control the ball. Spin around whilst shielding the ball from your marker and push the ball away with your instep to head in a new direction.

Difficulty –  5/10


  1. Fake Shot

Use when – creating space to take a shot

How to do it – whilst running with the ball, pull your leg back a little and look up as if you are going to shoot. Instead, push the ball forwards and create more space. You can do this as many time as you need to create the perfect shooting opportunity and keep defenders guessing.

Difficulty – 3/10


  1. Double Cut

Use when – when trying to beat a marker

How to do it – when advancing towards a defender, use the outside of your foot to push the ball one way. Then, when the marker begins to commit in that direction, use the instep of the same foot to push the ball in the opposite direction.

Difficulty – 6/10


  1. La Croqueta

Use when – attempting to dribble past a defender making a tackle

How to do it – push the ball with the instep of one foot towards the other. In one fluid motion, kick the ball with the other foot ahead of you and advance past the defender.

Difficulty rating – 6/10


  1. The ‘L’ Cut

Use when – beating a defender without being pushed wide

How to do it – as you advance towards your marker, push the ball with the outside of your foot away from them. With that same foot, quickly push the ball forwards with the instep and you go around your opponent in an ‘L’ shape.

Difficulty rating – 7/10


  1. Toe Poke Nutmeg

Use when – the opponent is stretching for the ball

How to do it – if your opponent is attempting to latch onto a loose ball but you think you can reach it before them, a toe poke might be the best option. On the stretch, simply poke the ball forwards with the end of your toe and through the advancing opponent’s legs. The skill itself is incredibly simple but executing it is all in the timing.

Difficulty rating – 5/10


  1. Shoulder Drop

Use when – dribbling past a marker

How to do it – as you approach your marker, drop a shoulder as if you’re about to sprint in that direction. Quickly lift it and knock the ball in the opposite direction, sending your marker off balance and allowing you to run past them.

Difficulty rating – 4/10


  1. Block

Use when – other players are nearby and can serve as a distracting for the marker

Difficulty rating – this is all about utilising awareness. If another player is near you when trying to lose a marker, cut away from that player at the latest possible opportunity, giving your marker an extra obstacle to get near you. This is very situational and relies on making the most of the position you are in.

Difficulty rating – 3/10



The skills described above are generally not the hardest to execute but they take a long time to perfect.

Samba Soccer Schools in London is perfect for children with a passion for football and an eagerness to learn skills and tricks. We provide a fun and friendly environment that encourages kids and brings the best out of them. Find out more about us here.

If your child loves Lionel Messi, why not bring them down to a Samba Soccer Schools where they can learn to play football in the Brazilian way?

FAQs About Lionel Messi Football Skills

Can my child learn Lionel Messi football skills?

Yes, of course! Messi doesn’t often use skills that are incredibly difficult to learn so they lend themselves well to beginners. The difficulty with Messi’s skills is perfecting them to his standard.

What is Lionel Messi’s best football skill?

There isn’t any one skill that stands out for Messi. What makes him so special is his ability to pull out any sort of dribble or turn when the situation demands it.

Is Lionel Messi the greatest footballer ever?

There is a lot of debate when it comes to the greatest of all time.  Messi is regarded by many as the very best but others claim Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele, and Diego Maradona are.

How to shoot free kicks like Lionel Messi?

Messi’s technique is second to none in everything he does. Study his free-kicks carefully and practice them to nail his technique.

How to do Lionel Messi skills and tricks?

The article above guides you through when and how to pull off some of Messi’s favourite skills.

Where Can I find the best soccer school in London to learn Lionel Messi skills?

There are a lot of options for soccer schools in London. If you’re unsure of where to start, click here.

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