Lionel Messi stands alone as the player with the most goals for a single club.
Three days after equaling Pelé, who scored 643 times for Santos in his native Brazil, Messi broke the deadlock to notch his record-breaking 644th goal for Barcelona.
The 33-year-old Argentine scored Barcelona’s third and final goal in Tuesday’s 3-0 La Liga win over Valladolid. The historic tally came following some beautiful interplay from the visitors, with Pedri providing a spectacular primary assist with a slick back-heel feed that Messi slotted home:
Clément Lenglet opened the scoring Barcelona with header off a pass by Messi. Later in the first half, Barca’s American right back Sergiño Dest set up Martin Braithwaite, who converted Dest’s cross from close range to make it 2-0.
Messi sealed the three points with just over a half-hour to go. For a week or so last summer, though, it looked like his record-breaking goal wouldn’t come at all. While he has only ever worn Barcelona’s famous red- and blue-striped shirt at the professional level — Messi joined Barca’s youth ranks at 13 — the world’s best-ever player tried to force his way out of the club last summer, ultimately unsuccessfully.
But Messi’s contract with the five-time European champions expires at the end of this season, and he has yet to sign an extension, putting his future with the Blaugrana, who he had led to four Champions League crowns since 2006, in doubt.
Messi’s performances for Barcelona had been heavily criticized by some pundits earlier in the season, with the club mired in a spiral of inconsistency that had it languishing mid-table at one point. But Tuesday’s milestone strike marked Messi’s seventh this season in the Spanish top flight and his third in Barcelona’s last four league games, with Ronald Koeman’s team winning three times and drawing once over that span.
This latest victory kept the club in fifth place, a point ahead of Sevilla, which beat Valencia earlier on Tuesday, and eight points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
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