How to Dribble Like Lionel Messi: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

Table of contents:

How to Dribble Like Lionel Messi: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Dribble Like Lionel Messi: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

Lionel "Leo" Messi makes opposing defenders, excellent players, look silly. He is reminiscent of historic players like Diego Maradona, and his ability to hold the ball close to his body and explosively change direction is what makes him considered one of the greatest players of his generation, perhaps one of the greatest players of all time.. If you want to learn how to dribble like Messi, you can develop the main dribbling fundamentals, as well as other tricks to improve your football. Follow the instructions below to learn better.


Part 1 of 2: Developing the Fundamentals

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 1

Step 1. Always keep the ball close

Messi and other great dribblers keep the ball very close to the body as they move, as if it were attached to a rope tied around their ankle. To develop this skill, train around cones as quickly as possible. With that, you force yourself to control the ball and keep it close to the cones, without getting in your way.

It is important to increase your speed gradually. It's easy to keep the ball close to your body when you're walking, it's hard to do it at high speed. Increase the speed and stamina of your training gradually, trying to hit the ball 2-3 times with each sprint

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 2

Step 2. Keep your head up

Having good eyesight is essential for good ball control and dribbling like Messi. Practice by looking around you, focusing on your opponents' waists to see in which direction they are moving and anticipate them as best you can, catching them by surprise and even with your legs spread open to get between the “pens”.

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 3

Step 3. Keep a lower center of gravity

It's even unfair: in part, Messi is an excellent dribbler for being short. Not that height influences his dribble, but he needs to make fewer sprints with each dribble than certain athletes and is forced to keep the ball close, needing only a few steps as he advances. Tall players can do the same, but they need more practice and a lower center of gravity, bending down and staying on the ball.

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 4

Step 4. Keep your arms open

Remember Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, drunk and trying to get his balance? Watch some videos of great dribblers like Messi. Keeping your arms bent and slightly away from your body helps maintain balance during a quicker pass or change of direction, allowing for better positioning.

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 5

Step 5. Get faster

Agility is one of the great assets for a style of play and ball control like Lionel Messi's. Knowing how to keep the ball close to the body at high speed is what sets him apart from most players.

  • To work on your speed, give the ball a few sprints. Try to run as fast as possible, touching the ball as much as possible. Keep track of your time and try to improve it as you go from one end of the field to the other.
  • Run in-line or train in “shots”. To develop your explosiveness, start running in “shots”, back and forth across the field, 5, 4 m from the goal line, then 16, 4 m, to midfield and back.
Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 6

Step 6. Play constantly

Once, in an interview, Messi was asked what he needed to do to become a player at his level and he replied that the secret was to enjoy playing and training non-stop. Since he was 3 years old, Messi has played daily: morning, noon and night. He even played indoors and broke things. He barely started walking and already knew how to dribble. Do the same.

Part 2 of 2: Deceiving opponents

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 7

Step 1. Protect the ball with your body

Place your body between the passes you receive and the opponents around you. Turn your back to the defenders and try your best to protect the ball from them. Messi is often on the lookout for opponents, looking over his shoulder when an opponent approaches to steal the ball.

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 8

Step 2. Receive passes with the foot that is furthest away from the opponents

When receiving a pass and going to dominate the ball, try to do so by controlling the ball with the foot farthest away from the opponents. Although Messi is almost always very close to his opponents, he always keeps the ball closer to him than to his opponents. To start off on the right foot (ha!), catch the pass and dominate the ball to create a space for action.

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 9

Step 3. Identify the space

With your head held high, determine the best direction to gain space and move through the defenders. Your waists don't lie: pay attention to your opponents' waists to know which direction they're heading and how they're trying to anticipate your move.

If you are right handed, they tend to think you will go right. Use it in your favor

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 10

Step 4. Fool the defense by pretending to go in the opposite direction you intend to go

Dominate the ball with the foot corresponding to the direction you are supposed to be going and move forward on the other side. Messi's signature move is so fast that it's not hard to get lost, which makes it work so well against opponents. Basically, to deceive the opponent, Messi takes a false step in one direction, feints and dribbles to the other side with the outside of his foot.

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 11

Step 5. Approach the opponent slowly

Messi makes the opponent move forward and forces him to fumble and make a mistake before going through the space that has opened up. He is not a fast dribbler like Ronaldinho or a master at dribbling with the foot on the ball like Cristiano Ronaldo; Messi simply uses simple changes of direction and ball control to do unbelievable things.

Dribble Like Lionel Messi Step 12

Step 6. Release your explosion

Advance at full speed when changing direction. Overtake the opponent driving the ball, using the fast dribble that you have been practicing so much, in the direction you intend to go.

You don't have to go at very high speed to find space, you just have to dribble the right way and catch the opponent off guard and on your weak side. He won't even be able to touch you


  • When running, run slowly, lift the ball fast and run after it.
  • Never give up.
  • Always try to maintain control over the ball.
  • Train to get better and better.
  • Be ready to send the ball behind your opponent when and if he moves forward to catch it.
  • Most importantly, have flexible body language.

Popular by topic