Lionel Messi in sight of Barcelona record after hat-trick
Wednesday 02 November 2011
Lionel Messi is 34 goals short of becoming Barcelona's all-time top scorer after netting a hat-trick in the Champions League last night, and the only real question left is when he will achieve that accolade and not if.
The World Player of the Year took his Barca tally to 202 goals from 286 appearances in the 4-0 victory away to Viktoria Plzen, putting the holders into the last 16 of the competition with two games to spare.
"Messi will pass Cesar (Rodriguez) to become the top scorer in the history of the club, I consider it a done deal, and I don't rule out that it will happen this year," Barca coach Pep Guardiola told reporters.
"And he's only 24. This says it all."
Spain striker Cesar scored 235 official goals for Barcelona between 1942-55 and his total is within reach during this campaign for the Argentine on current form.
Messi, top scorer in the Champions League over the last three seasons, bagged 53 goals in all competitions last season and this year has already hit 22, including strikes in Barca's Spanish and European Super Cup wins.
So accustomed to seeing him score regularly, when Messi went three games without finding the back of the net last week local media speculated that he was out of form and needed a rest.
His response has been to score consecutive hat-tricks against Real Mallorca in La Liga on Saturday and again in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, when he was also shortlisted as a candidate for World Player of the Year again.
Messi has won the award the last two years.
"There aren't enough adjectives to define him," Barca president Sandro Rosell said. "He's the best in the world. I don't know where his limits are."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thwarting Louis van Gaal over transfer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 final preview: German team ethic tests Lionel Messi's ability to meet the challenge
World Cup 2014: Robin van Persie gives his bronze medal to eccentric Netherlands fan moments after being handed it by Sepp Blatter
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Comfortable in their own skin
- 3 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’