Lionel Messi News: Messi finishes the season as Champions League top scorer, achieves unprecedented three-peat of goalscoring titles
What's the story?
Lionel Messi finished as this season's Champions League top scorer with 12 goals with a comfortable lead over his closest rival, Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (8 goals).
With this, he has completed a three-peat of the planet's most elite goalscoring titles: The UEFA Champions League top scorer, the Pichichi Award as La Liga's top scorer and the European Golden Shoe.
In case you didn't know...
First constituted in the 1967-68 season, the European Golden Shoe is awarded by the European Sports Media, an association of football-related publications from across Europe. It is presented each season to the leading goalscorer in league matches from the top division of every European national league. Lionel Messi is the record winner of the title, his 36 goals this season in La Liga winning him an unprecedented 6th Golden Shoe.
First constituted in the 1955-56 season, the European Cup (which became the UEFA Champions League in 1992), is the most elite continental competition in Europe. Cristiano Ronaldo is the record winner of the UEFA Champions League top scorer title, with 7 wins, followed by Messi with 6.
Named after legendary Athletic Bilbao striker Rafael "Pichichi" Moreno, the Pichichi Award has been presented to the top scorer of each La Liga season since 1929. It has been presented to some legendary figures over the years, including Telmo Zarra, Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Mario Kempes, Hugo Sanchez, Emilio Butragueno, Ronaldo, Raul, Samuel Eto'o, etc. Lionel Messi equalled a long-standing Telmo Zarra record by winning his 6th Pichichi title this season.
Only Messi and Ronaldo have won all three accolades in a single season. Messi became the first player to win all three awards in the same season in 2009-10 and has won this 'treble' also in the 2011-12 season. Cristiano Ronaldo won this 'goalscoring treble' albeit only on one occasion (2014-15).
The heart of the matter
The chances of any player from the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League final eclipsing Messi to the top scorer title was remote with Mohammed Salah (with only on 4 goals going into the game), the closest in the race with La Pulga (12). Liverpool defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 thanks to goals from Salah and Divock Origi in a dramatic final at Madrid.
Messi will, however, remember this Champions League with disappointment after Barcelona let a 3-0 first-leg lead slip away to go down 4-0 at Anfield against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals.
Messi is all set to captain Argentina for the upcoming Copa America in Brazil. Argentina is drawn in Group B for the tournament, along with Colombia, Paraguay and 2019 Asian Cup Champions Qatar.
La Albiceleste's first match will be against James Rodriguez-led Colombia on 15th June. They take on Nicaragua in a preparatory friendly before the tournament on June 5.