Magical Messi continues to break new ground
Lionel Messi has become just the second player in Barcelona's history to reach 700 appearances for the club and he is showing no signs of slowing down.
Argentine superstar Messi reached the landmark figure during Barca’s Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund at the Camp Nou on Wednesday and he capped the occasion in typical style, as he scored one and provided two assists to help the Blaugrana to a 3-1 victory that also sealed their progress through to the knockout stages.
Messi has joined Xavi Hernandez in making it beyond 700 appearances for Barca, although he still has some way to go to catch the former Spain midfielder’s total of 767.
However, given Messi is only 32 and showing no signs of slowing down, it would be no surprise to see him surpass that total over the coming years to add another accolade to his already lengthy list of achievements.
Indeed, the forward is by far and away the leading scorer in Barcelona’s history, netting 613, nearly three times as many as his nearest rivals Cesar, who scored the last of his 232 goals for the club over 30 years before Messi was even born.
Messi is also the most decorated player in the club’s history with 34 honours to his name, while he has a plethora of individual accolades, including five Ballon d’Or prizes and six Golden Shoes.
Add to that the 237 assists Messi has provided, as well as his 40 hat-tricks and 125 braces and it is difficult to even enter anyone else into the conversation as Barcelona’s greatest ever player.
The Argentine, who has also netted four goals in a match on five occasions and even managed five against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League back in 2012, has scored at least 23 goals in each of the last 11 La Liga seasons.
The long-standing debate regarding who is better, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, will of course continue to rumble on and the Portuguese is certainly a worthy adversary.
However, whereas Ronaldo has spent time at the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, Messi has remained loyal to Barca since his arrival as a teenager from Newell’s Old Boys and that is one of the many reasons he will always be regarded as the greatest ever by anyone that holds an association to the Catalan club.
Tom McGarry completed his sports journalist degree in 2011,and has since has become an integral part of the editorial and audio team. He is passionate about all things sport, particularly football, and is a lifelong supporter of his hometown club Carlisle United.