Celebrating one of the greatest players we’ll ever see.
WASHINGTON -Lionel Messi scored two more goals on Tuesday, this time in a romping 6-0 victory over Getafe. The Barcelona star’s club goal total in official competitions is now 403. Unless you’re entrenched on one side or the other of the “who’s better, Messi or Ronaldo” argument, it’s easy to gloss over the four-time Ballon d’Or winner making opposing defenses look like a pack of toddlers yet again, but you shouldn’t.
This is an amazing feat, and it needs to be celebrated. We’ll save you the trouble of watching compilation videos of every single goal with overly-dramatic music by just recapping the Atomic Flea’s 10 most significant performances so far.
Friday is the 10th anniversary of Messi’s first ever La Liga goal, so it’s only natural to start there.
1. Barcelona 2-0 Albacete, 5/1/2005
At 17 years old, Messi opened his Barcelona account in a La Liga home game. Running onto a lobbed pass by Ronaldinho, Barcelona’s biggest star at the time, Messi showed his prodigious talent by deftly lifting the ball over both the sliding defender and goalkeeper Raul Valbuena. This kid looks like he’s going places.
2. Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid, 3/10/2007
Messi couldn’t have picked a better foe than Real Madrid to cap off his first senior team hat-trick — and in the same La Liga game where he became the youngest player to score in El Clasico. As of 2015, Messi’s scoring total against Barca’s traditional rival stands at 21, the most for any player.
By this point Messi was already drawing comparisons to fellow Argentine Diego Maradona, with doubters in equal measure. The naysayers’ job got harder though after Messi dribbled the ball from inside his own half, leaving six Getafe players looking hapless in his wake. Paired side-by-side with Maradona’s second against England in the 1986 World Cup — FIFA’s World Cup Goal of the Century — the resemblance is freaky. On June 9 of the same year Messi’s also made a pretty good attempt at recreating El Diego’s more controversial “Hand of God” goal.
4. Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United 5/27/2009
At the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the 5’7 Messi leapt to meet a cross by midfielder Xavi and headed the ball past Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, scoring Barca’s second goal in the Champions League final. Barcelona had already won the league and the Spanish cup, so capturing Europe’s highest club trophy made the side the first Spanish team to win the treble. Messi was also the top scorer in the Champions League that season with nine, the youngest player ever to earn that honor.
5. Estudiantes 1-2 Barcelona 12/19/2009
Further proving that he can be a threat in the air, Messi chested in Dani Alves’ cross in the 110th minute to edge Argentine club Estudiantes for the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi. That same week Messi was crowned FIFA World Player of the Year for the first time in his career. He also won the Ballon d’Or earlier in December (this was the season before the two awards were merged), becoming the first Argentine to take either.
6. Barcelona 2-0 Porto 8/26/2011
Messi’s opened the scoring in Barca’s 2-0 UEFA Super Cup win against Porto. As well as taking home the silverware, the goal marked the last possible tournament that the Atomic Flea had yet to score in.
7. Barcelona 7-1 Bayer Leverkusen 3/7/2012
Messi was on fire, scoring in the 84th minute to round off his first and only five-goal haul in the rout of German side Bayer Leverkusen. He remained the only player to achieve this feat in the Champions League until Luis Adriano did so in Shakhtar Donetsk’s 0-7 win over FC BATE Borisov.
8. Barcelona 5-3 Granada 3/20/2012
Messi’s first goal in another La Liga hat-trick saw him surpass Cesar Rodriguez as Barcelona’s top scorer in official competition with his 233rd goal for the club.
9. Barcelona 5-1 Sevilla 11/22/2014
In his second goal of three, Messi became La Liga’s all-time top scorer with 253. Messi finished his close range shot on the slide after some one-two passing with his teammate Neymar. The record was previously set by Athletic Bilbao forward Telmo Zarra back in 1955. Messi’s league total is currently at 281. Sevilla is one the two teams that Messi has scored the most against at 22. The other is Atletico Madrid.
10. Apoel Nicosia 0-4 Barcelona 11/25/2014
In a game with yet another hat trick, Messi’s first goal against Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia made him the outright all-time top scorer in the Champion’s League, passing former Real Madrid star Raul at 72 goals. Messi scored two more in the victory to earn slightly more quirky first, a hat trick using only his weaker right foot. Currently tied with Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo on 75 goals, he also has the most Champions League hat tricks, with five.
Remember that the Argentine is only 27, an age that’s just the beginning of the prime of many players. It’s possible that the best is yet to come for him, and he could shatter every club record in existence.
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