Train like Lionel Messi

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi reminded world soccer why so many people regard him as one of the greatest footballers of all time, scoring twice on Tuesday night for Barcelona against Manchester United.

Never mind the goals, we all watched in amazement as he turned the game instead into a performance, a show, an exhibition of superiority.

“Don’t try to describe him, don’t try to write about him: watch him,” Pep Guardiola once said – and we did.

Working on some of the skills that make Messi such a wonderful player will undoubtedly improve the fortunes of your team and help to get your forwards scoring more goals.

Messi says he has been playing with a ball since he was three, so if regular ball work has paid dividends for Messi, this is something that can be encouraged in all youngsters.

There are also certain of his skills and techniques that you can coach on the training ground, such as how to time those surging runs, when to attack the space behind a defender, and how to play the wonderful one-touch play that he enjoys so much at Barcelona.

These two training sessions will help you coach some of those skills – try them in training and soon your players could be scoring like Messi.

Creating space in the penalty box with a simple turn and shot is vital to the success of any striker. It gives attackers the edge over defenders when they turn in the area. Goalscorer gets youth players to use the skill to their advantage and get free in the box.

When attacking, runs into the box need energy, changes of pace and changes of direction. Players need to experience how short bursts of speed and movement can be explosive near the goal. Explode into the box gets you coaching one of the key tactics that Messi uses to destroy defences.

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