Lionel Messi is edging closer to Pele’s all-time goal-scoring record and is now just 17 goals short of the legendary Brazilian, AS reports. Pele holds the record for most goals scored for a single club – 643, from 656 appearances for Santos over a period of 19 years. That record came into existence in 1974 when the Brazilian left the club to join New York Cosmos and has been intact for 46 years since.
The emergence of Messi has been synonymous with football records tumbling like a pack of cards and the Argentinean’s loyal to Barcelona, coupled with his outrageous goalscoring abilities were always going to be a threat to Pele’s record. And the Blaugrana skipper has now arrived within touching distance of the Brazilian.
Messi could surpass Pele by the end of this season
The Argentinean has scored 626 goals for Barcelona from 715 appearances and is averaging 0.87 goals per game for the Catalans. Messi has 436 goals in the La Liga, 114 goals in the UEFA Champions League, and 53 goals in the Copa Del Rey. He has also found the back of the net 14 times in the Spanish Super Cup, 5 times in the FIFA Club World Cup and thrice in the European Super Cup.
Messi’s goalscoring prowess came to the fore once again against Eibar on Saturday. The Argentinean scored 4 goals, helping Barcelona to the top of the table with a 5-0 win. It was the 6th time that he had scored 4 goals in a match for Barcelona. The Argentinean is also a record-equalling 6-time Pichichi winner. This season, he has scored 18 times already in the league, 5 clear of Karim Benzema, who is the nearest competition.
Pele was 33 years old when he left Santos. Messi will be 33 in the summer. He has to score 17 goals from now until the end of the season to touch the Brazilian’s record. Ideally, the Argentinean would have 15 to 20 games to achieve that target, depending on Barcelona’s run in the UEFA Champions League. As always, few people in the world would bet against the record 6-time Ballon d’Or winner.