Another day, another brace, another landmark or two. It is becoming an all too familiar story line, but such is the case it seems whenever talking of Lionel Messi. And it was no different on Saturday night. The Argentine’s two goals saw him past the 300-goal mark for Barcelona while he extended his goalscoring run to 14 consecutive matches.
This time however, Messi has not broken records held by others – he has broken his own. He had already eclipsed the previously held record of 10 set by Mariano Martin and Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) last February with his goalscoring streak of 11 games. However, after stretching his run of scoring to 14 games at Los Carmenes, he has now broken his own record – for the third time this year.
It is the same story with his other landmark. It was in March last year that Messi became Barcelona’s greatest all-time goalscorer surpassing the previous record of 232 goals set by Cesar Rodriguez Alvarez. Not even a year on and Messi has now scored 301 and counting.
After smashing so many records, it is becoming more the case of Messi bettering Messi. Hard to imagine, but, true. The Argentine is well on his way to topping his record-breaking 50 goals notched last term in La Liga. At present he has 37 to his name and with fourteen matches still remaining and with a goalscoring average of 1.5 goals per game, barring injury you would not bet against him nearing the 60-goal mark.
Likewise, Messi could also outdo his own record-breaking total of 73 goals scored in all competitions last season. After 28 games played, he is sitting on 42 goals and at the rate that he is currently finding the net, he could reach 90.
Such numbers are just astonishing, phenomenal and almost plain ludicrous. But, for those particularly sceptical observers who may still try and claim that in another, tougher league he would be unable to reach such figures, take note – the Champions League is a pretty tough competition and should he finish top-scorer again in May, the Blaugrana man will become the first player to do so five seasons in a row after, you guessed it, already equalling the previous held record set by Gerd Muller.
Of course there are still other records the Argentine forward is hunting down that are not his own and there is one in particular that he could soon add to his collection. Having claimed 21 goals on the road this season, it seems almost inevitable that he will go beyond Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 23 goals scored away from home.
No doubt, Messi also has his eye on all-time leading European Cup goalscorer Raul’s benchmark of 71 goals. La Pulga has already accumulated 56 and while it may not happen this season, at still only 25-years-old he has plenty of time to do so.
And it is the same case with Messi’s pursuit of becoming the all-time leading goalscorer in Spain. When Telmo Zarra retired in 1955, he had found the net on 251 occasions in just 278 games. Messi currently has 206 La Liga strikes to his name and with an average of over 38 goals over the last three seasons, there is an air of inevitably hanging over this one too.
It is simply becoming harder and harder if not downright impossible to describe Messi. What he has already achieved most players would hardly dream of achieving half in their entire careers. He continues scoring goals, he will continue destroying records and the more he goes on doing so, we all may as well give up trying to find the right words to describe him. As Jordi Alba neatly summarised after Barca’s Messi-inspired win in Andalusia, “Whatever anyone says [about him] they will come up short."