When it comes to recounting Leo Messi’s exploits, we don’t have enough adjectives to describe him. After almost a decade playing for the Barcelona first team, (he made his debut in 2004-05) with five of those years being considered the best player in the world, is not easy to find words to describe the “flea” as he is continuously setting himself new targets and crushing current records.
Messi is more than just a footballer. He is a mythical creature that seems to devour any records that get in his way – records that have made legends out of past players. Alfredo di Stéfano holds one of the few records that have yet to be beaten. Di Stéfano is the top scorer in the history of the clasico matches. He scored 18 goals against the Catalans.
No one so far had threatened the great Di Stéfano’s record. But if Messi manages to score tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu, he will match the great man’s record. So far, taking into account all the competitions they have met each other (League, Cup, Spanish Supercup and Champions League), Messi has a tally of 17 goals.
Four goals in the 2012-13 season
Four of those 17 goals have been this season. He scored a penalty in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup at the Nou Camp and a free kick in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Despite his goals, Barcelona failed to lift the coveted trophy. And in La Liga, he achieved the double, as did Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi seems to be crushing records on a daily basis. In 2012 he smashed both Pelé’s and Gerd Müller’s records. The Brazilian scored 75 goals in 1959 (with Santos and Brazil) and the German found the net 84 times (with Bayern Munich and Germany) in 1972. Half a century later and the Argentine has set the record at 90.
His greed for goals is insatiable. There is no other way to explain how a player can achieve both top goal scorer and the Golden Boot with the highest number of goals in history. It happened last year and Leo Messi scored a superb 50 goals.
It started to look impossible trying to beat Cristiano Ronaldo, who managed to find the net 41 times in 2011. The Portuguese star had beaten the historical record of Real Madrid favourite Hugo Sanchez, who in the 1989-90 season scored 38 goals.
Most football legends records have fallen in the wake of Messi. The latest ones to fall victim of the Argentine’s goal prowess have been Platini, Cruyff and Van Basten, who won three FIFA Ballon d’Or awards each until Messi won four in a row.
Messi has also toppled Maradona concerning club titles and goals. He has beaten Cristiano Ronaldo scoring in consecutive league matches. Last Sunday saw the eleventh straight game in the league that Messi scored and looks set to carry on regardless.
As if this were not enough, we must point out that he’s among eight scorers in the history of the league that have over 200 goals in the first division. Let there be no doubt that the magical number 10 will break more records soon. Just ahead of Messi there is Zarra (251), Hugo Sanchez (234), Raul (228), Di Stefano (227), Cesar (224), Quini (219) and Pahiño (210).
In Europe Messi has also has left behind greats such as Van Nistelrooy or Woodward. The Argentine has already equaled the Dutchman as second top scorer in the Champions League with 56 goals in 73 games thanks to the goal he scored against Spartak Moscow. Former Real Madrid star Raul, lies just ahead who set the bar at 71 goals. Messi needs just 15 goals to equal him.
One has to take their hat off to the Argentine who is still only 25 years old. Most players don’t reach their peak until 28 or 29 – what can we expect from Leo Messi then?