ElClasico – Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona – the biggest club game in football featuring the best players in the world, is a usually a moment to stop and reflect on record-breakers.
And there’s one name that comes up time and time again when you look at FC Barcelona’s club records. Surprise, surprise… it’s Lionel Messi.
It makes sense that Messi holds so many records. He’s the only player in history to have won the Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player six times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019) for good reason.
The Ballon d’Or may be a subjective award, but Messi has also won most of the annual objective prizes. That includes the European Golden Boot, the award for the player with the most league goals in each European football season, another six times: 2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19. Logically, Messi also won the Pichichi prize for LaLiga Santander’s top scorer in each of these years, as well as also winning the Pichichi in 2019/20 when he was the Spanish league’s top scorer without being Europe’s overall top scorer. That season, he scored 25 goals and provided 22 assists in the league, becoming the first player to ever score 20+ goals and provide 20+ assists.
In 2012, Messi’s goalscoring abilities reached mind-blowing and unprecedented levels. In that calendar year, he scored a record-breaking 96 goals from January to December (84 with Barcelona and 12 with Argentina).
And he’s the only player to have scored more than 40 goals in 10 consecutive seasons. Objectively speaking, then, he’s off the charts. That might even be an understatement.
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A record-breaker in ElClasico
As the second ElClasico of the season approaches, Messi will be looking to add to his tally of 26 goals against Real Madrid. That’s the most ever in this special fixture, with 18 having come in LaLiga Santander, two in the Champions League and six in the Spanish Super Cup. That’s from 44 matches against Real Madrid, the most ever for a Barça player.
It doesn’t stop there. In Barcelona’s recent 6-1 win over Real Sociedad at the end of March, Messi became the Blaugrana’s all-time top appearance maker in competitive matches, playing his 768th match with the club whose youth academy he joined at the age of 13. That put him ahead of the previous record-holder Xavi Hernández, another Barça legend.
The record for the most goals for Barcelona had been held by César Rodríguez since the 1950s, who finished his time at the club with 232 goals. Messi has since smashed that record tally and, as of the end of March 2021, sits on 663 club goals. That makes him the player with the most goals for a single club, having surpassed Pelé’s Santos total of 643.
In terms of hardware, Messi has won the most trophies with Barcelona. His 34 titles with the first team recently surpassed Andres Iniesta’s 32.
The LaLiga records
Not only does Messi hold almost all club records at Barcelona, but he also tops the standings for scores of LaLiga records.
His 467 LaLiga goals as of March 2021 are the most ever, well ahead of second-placed Cristiano Ronaldo (311). With 379 matches won in Spain’s top tier, Messi has also been part of a three-point haul more than anybody else, more than second-placed Iker Casillas’ 334.
Other LaLiga records that stand out are Messi’s competition-leading 38 direct freekick goals or the fact that he holds the record for the most consecutive matchdays with at least one goal, netting in an incredible 19 games in a row in 2012/13.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid may offer up the best match-ups, the most talented players and greatest storylines in football, but Lionel Messi continues to surprise and astound, 16 years after his ElClasico debut.