Lionel Messi breaks Spanish goal scoring record

Argentine superstar beats Telmo Zarra's record of 251 goals

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The Independent Football

Lionel Messi became the Spanish league's all-time top scorer last night with a hat-trick against Sevilla.

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Having failed to score in his last three La Liga matches, the Argentine finally surpassed Telmo Zarra's 251 goals for Athletic Bilbao after converting a sublime free-kick to send him on his way.

While Jordi Alba's own goal momentarily threatened to spoil Messi's night, Neymar made it 2-1 in the 49th minute.

Ivan Rakitic then nodded in a header before Messi's record breaking strike sent the Nou Camp crowd into delirium. The match eventually finished 5-1 to Barca on a historic night.

Remarkably, the 27-year-old magician's goal tally came in just 250 starts for the Spanish giants.

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After the strike which took him past Zarra's total, Messi's team-mates threw him into the air while the crowd at the Nou Camp roared with approval.

Neymar, the Brazilian superstar, bowed down to his teammate in admiration.

The Argentine is the Champions League's joint highest goal scorer while he already has four Ballon d'Or trophies to his name.

Raul's European record of 71 goals tumbled last month after Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 2-0 victory against Ajax.

"Messi is without doubt the best player I've seen as a player and a coach," said Barca manager Luis Enrique after the match.

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