Spanish league leaders Barcelona were held to a goalless draw at Sevilla, leaving the title race wide open with eight games remaining.
Lucas Ocampos also hit the crossbar for the hosts before the break.
Messi’s free-kick was the closest they came, and Luis Suarez’ first-time strike almost sneaked in minutes before full-time, but Sevilla had bursts of attacking promise – Ocampos and Munir El Haddadi forcing two smart saves from Ter Stegen from close range in the first half.
Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann came on as a substitute in the 76th minute in an attempt to find a winner but did not make an impact.
On-loan Real Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon had a great chance to score for Sevilla in stoppage time when the ball fell kindly for him in an unmarked position in the box but he hit it straight at Ter Stegen.