UEFA Champions League 2016/17: Lionel Messi surpasses Raul's Champions League record
Man. Machine. Magician. It is perhaps an eventuality that at some point in time people are going to run out of terms to describe the phenomenon and enigma that is Lionel Messi. There is a sense of synonymy with Messi and the term ‘footballing record’ and that doesn’t come as a major surprise.
With numerous records to his hallowed name already, it seems he has no intention of stopping with yesterday’s Champions League goal against Manchester City putting him on top of the charts for the highest number of goals during the group stages of Europe’s premier club competition.
The Argentine opened the scoring in the 21st minute in their clash against Manchester City at the Etihad, by finishing off a fabulous counter-attacking move; one that he instigated himself. He sent Neymar down the left, sprinting down the length of the field before casually taking the return ball in his stride, skipping past de Bruyne and Stones and stroking it past a hapless Willy Caballero.
That goal sees Messi surpass another legend’s record; his tally of 54 is now greater than the 53 Raul scored in the group stages in spells across Real Madrid and Schalke.
Messi’s goal also saw him improve upon his tremendous goal-scoring record against English teams in the Champions League, his count being 16 goals in his last 14 games.
Messi has now scored an incredible 50 goals in 2016 already – four more than Uruguayan teammate and ace Luis Suarez and six more than Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo – with 2 more months still remaining in the calendar year.
The goal was to be in vain, however, as Luis Enrique’s side slipped to a 3-1 defeat, with Gundogan’s brace and Kevin de Bruyne’s stunning free-kick completing the comeback for City; granting them their first win against Barcelona at the 6th attempt.
Here’s how Messi’s record compares with others in the group stages:
|Lionel Messi – 54||Karim Benzema – 34|
|Raul – 53||Alessandro Del Piero – 33|
|Cristiano Ronaldo – 51||Fillipo Inzaghi – 30|
|Ruud Van Nistelrooy – 50||Andriy Shevchenko – 30|
|Thierry Henry – 38||Didier Drogba – 30|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 38|
Here are some of Messi’s other Champions League records for Barcelona:
#1 Most hat-tricks: 7
#2 Top goal-scorer: 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2014-15
#3 Most goals scored in a match: 5 against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 (shared with Luiz Adriano)
#4 Only player to be top goal-scorer in 5 separate seasons
#5 Youngest ever player to make 100 appearances: 28 years, 84 days in 2015
With Messi still only 29 and in the peak of his stellar career, no one can doubt that there is still a lot more to come. One can expect the man lovingly nicknamed ‘La Pulga’ to keep breaking records for the foreseeable future.
(Video courtesy: Uefa.tv YouTube channel)