ANDY CARROLL channelled his inner Lionel Messi to score a sublime goal in pre-season.
The Newcastle striker, 31, failed to find the net in the entirety of his first season back at his boyhood club.
Not that anyone would have guessed it watching on Tuesday as he finished in expert fashion during the friendly clash against Crewe Alexandra in York.
Five minutes before half-time, Jamaal Lascelles played a long diagonal ball into the box from just inside the Crewe half.
He picked out Carroll who leapt up in trademark fashion to chest the ball down.
But rather than let it touch the ground and lay it off for a team-mate, the former Liverpool and West Ham man did something rather spectacular.
First he juggled the ball on his head with one touch, then flicked it up again with his so-called weaker right foot to bamboozle the Railwaymen defenders and work a yard of space.
And as it dropped he flung himself across, swinging his left peg at it in acrobatic fashion.
It may not have been the sweetest, cleanest connection but it was enough to beat Dave Richards and find the bottom corner the Crewe net.
And a week after seeing former flop Luuk de Jong bag twice in the Europa League final, it had ever-the-optimistic Toon fans gushing ahead of the new season.
😎😎#NUFC https://t.co/8LHSK36g88 pic.twitter.com/DDsUoOGDQ5
Best goal I’ve ever seen! pic.twitter.com/feDTgWLxCh
One wrote: “Andy Carroll or Lionel Messi?”
Another commented: “Thought we didn’t sign @KMbappe”
A third replied: “Nice to see one of the all-time greats has still got it.”
And a final user said: “Thought Ronaldinho had signed for us and grew a few inches for a second.”
Christian Atsu and Federico Fernandez grabbed goals after the break as Steve Bruce’s side ran out 3-0 winners.
They begin their Premier League campaign with a trip to Carroll’s former side West Ham on September 12.