There is little doubt that Lionel Messi is one of the greatest players of all-time, let alone that of the current generation of superstars. The Argentine's scintillating ability on the pitch, accolades, and career compares with and betters some of the greatest to have played the game.
The world bore witness as Barcelona's incredibly talented youngster break onto the scene and grew into shoes that perhaps will be difficult to fill for any future successor. The standards set, records broken, and the longevity on display are all too much of an ask for anyone to match.
Now, at 33, Messi is approaching the twilight years of what has been a simply spectacular career. The forward began his life as a footballer in breathtaking fashion, and would hope to end his career on a high as well.
Here, we take a look at some of the greatest achievements racked up by Messi throughout one of football's most legendary careers.
#5 2012: A year for the history books
Messi has been synonymous with some of the most stellar goalscoring feats in football. None more so, perhaps, than his record-shattering 2012 season. During the calendar year 2012, Messi smashed in a whopping 91 goals for club and country in 69 games, setting the record for the most goals scored in a year. The previous record was held by Gerd Muller, who scored 85 goals in 1972.
Messi bettered Der Bomber's tally when he scored 79 for the Blaugrana (59 in LaLiga Santander, 13 in the UEFA Champions League, 5 in the Copa del Rey and 2 in the Spanish Super Cup) and a further 12 (a joint-highest figure along with Gabriel Batistuta) for Argentina. Over the course of 2012, Messi even laid off a further 24 goals for his teammates, taking his goal contribution tally to a staggering 115.
They were also crucial strikes for Barcelona as his goals in the second half of the campaign sealed Barcelona's fourth LaLiga title in five years. Messi was simply unstoppable during the calendar year, and his 50 (!) goal LaLiga season remains the highest number of goals scored in a league campaign to date.
#4 Active LaLiga player with the highest league title wins
LaLiga has played host to some of the greatest names in the 21st century, including the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Andres Iniesta, Cristiano Ronaldo, and many more. However, purely in terms of the success they've achieved in LaLiga, not many can even compare let alone compete with what Messi has done.
Ever since making his competitive debut for Barcelona back in October 2004, Messi has amassed a staggering ten league titles, which is a number no active LaLiga player can match. The next active players on the list are his teammates Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, with eight apiece. Iniesta, should he have stayed, could have hit double digits but ended his Barcelona career with nine to his name.
Messi is one of only three names to have reached double digits for LaLiga titles, along with Real Madrid demi-gods Pirri and Paco Gento. While the former is level with Messi, the latter is the record LaLiga title winner, having won 12 of them with Los Blancos. Messi could potentially go from being Barcelona's highest title winner to that of Spanish football itself, should he manage three more LaLigas before he retires.