Messi returns as Barcelona eye last 16 against Roma

Fresh from thrashing bitter rivals Real Madrid 4-0 at the weekend, Barcelona are aiming to seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League when Roma visit the Camp Nou on Tuesday.

The European champions need just a point to reach the knockout stages for a 12th consecutive season, and should be further boosted by the presence of Lionel Messi from the start for the first time in two months.

Messi made his return as a substitute from a knee-ligament injury with Barca already leading 3-0 against Madrid and played his part in Luis Suarez’s second goal of the evening to round off an historic night for the Catalans.

Suarez and Neymar have kept Barca afloat without Messi, scoring 24 of their last 28 goals in all competitions.

And with a win also sealing top spot in the group, Barca boss Luis Enrique is unlikely to rest any of his star front three even ahead of a busy few weeks in league, Cup and Champions League before they fly off to Japan for the World Club Cup at the end of December.

Whilst it would take a remarkable collapse for Barca not to qualify, Roma have it all to play for in their final two group games if they are to make the last 16 for the first time in five years.

The Italians sit second in the group, a point clear of Bayer Leverkusen and two ahead of BATE Borisov, who they host in their final game.

Roma got their campaign off to a great start by holding Barca to a 1-1 draw in the Italian capital thanks to Alessandro Florenzi’s sensational strike from just over the halfway line.

And he believes they can produce another upset at the Camp Nou.

“It will certainly be difficult. They’re the strongest side in the world, but we managed to produce something of an exploit against them at the Stadio Olimpico,” Florenzi told Corriere dello Sport.

“We have to be fearless in Spain and determined to make the most of our chances.”

In contrast to Barca’s brilliance, Roma’s inconsistent domestic campaign continued with a 2-2 draw in terrible weather conditions at Bologna on Saturday.

Rudi Garcia will also have to do without a number of attacking options as Gervinho and Mohamed Salah miss out through injury, whilst captain Francesco Totti hasn’t featured since suffering a thigh injury two months ago.

Photo Credits : AFP

Messi needs to rest, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique says

The logistics of Barcelona’s North American tour are tough enough, with coach Luis Enrique making no apologies for letting stars including Lionel Messi skip the pre-season excursion.

The Spanish giants landed in Los Angeles on Sunday to begin preparations for a three-match tour that opens with a game against Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday.

Enrique and captain Andres Iniesta were fresh off the bus from the airport when they met with the media, the team having been cheered upon arrival at their hotel by a gaggle of Barcelona fans.

Asked if he owed those fans a chance to see players like Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi and Brazilian Neymar, Enrique said his first duty was to get those players some much-needed time off.

“That’s simple to answer,” he said. “We have to give a certain minimum number of days of vacation for players to recover from a season that is seemingly eternal,” said Enrique, who has excused Messi, Neymar, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, midfielder Javier Mascherano and fullback Dani Alvez from the tour after they competed in the Copa America.

“The bottom line is, these players need to rest.”

After taking on the Galaxy, the Champions League winners will travel north to take on Manchester United at the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.

They complete their US swing against English champions Chelsea on July 28 in suburban Washington DC.

They will play Fiorentina in Florence on August 2 as part of the same International Champions Cup exhibition tournament.

“As a trainer, the truth is I would rather not do tours,” Enrique admitted.

Like many other managers, he finds the travel demands and other details take time away from training.

“Even though the countries can be great and it can be great to travel, things like the change of time zones can have repercussions and you can have fewer trainings and that can affect the team negatively.”

Although the tour includes such potentially distracting sidelines as meetings with NBA superstar Kobe Bryant as well as with members of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, Enrique and Iniesta are both keen to get the focus on the field.

“As far as training goes, the beginning is very important,” Iniesta said. “That is what counts because you have not trained for a long time.”

The team travelled shortly after the re-election of Josep Maria Bartomeu as president of the club by their members.

Incumbent Bartomeu saw off rival Joan Laporta in an election that Bartomeu called early, when tensions within the club were running high because of poor relations between Enrique and Messi.

Enrique declined to address the election on Sunday, while Iniesta said he hoped the resolution would allow the club to focus on trying to repeat the stellar feats of last season, when they won the treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa Del Rey.

Photo Credits : AFP

Messi nets 400th goal as Barca edge past Valencia

Lionel Messi scored the 400th goal of his Barcelona career as the Catalans beat Champions League-chasing Valencia 2-0 to move five points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga on Saturday.

Luis Suarez got Barca off to a flying start as he slotted home the opener after just 54 seconds from Messi’s through ball.

However, it was Valencia who enjoyed the majority of the chances thereafter and they were left to rue Dani Parejo’s missed penalty in the first half.

And Messi made sure of all three points with the final kick of the game after Diego Alves had saved his initial effort.

Madrid can move back to within two points of the leaders when they host Malaga later on Saturday.

Defeat, meanwhile, leaves Valencia still a point adrift of third-placed Atletico Madrid, who are in action away to Deportivo la Coruna.

Suarez scored two wonderful individual goals as Barca all but secured their place in the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-1 win away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

And he took less than a minute to pick up from where he left off in the French capital as Sergio Busquets fed Messi and his pass was fired low past Diego Alves by Suarez for his 12th goal in as many games.

However, Valencia went on to dominate the remainder of the opening 45 minutes and were desperately unlucky still to be behind at the break.

Rodrigo flashed a shot just wide before he was deemed to have been brought down inside the area by Gerard Pique.

Parejo’s penalty was poorly struck, though, and Bravo made a comfortable save low to his right.

Paco Alcacer then had a hat-trick of chances to grab a deserved equaliser as he turned Andre Gomes’s dangerous cross wide, saw a goalbound effort blocked by Pique and struck the outside of the post.

However, it could have been even worse for the visitors had Messi not sliced wide a great chance on his weaker right foot five minutes before half-time.

Barca boss Luis Enrique introduced Ivan Rakitic for Adriano at half-time in a tactical rejig to gain more control in midfield and Valencia found chances much more difficult to come by in the second period.

Messi was first to threaten after the break as he sent a dipping free-kick off the crossbar 25 minutes from time.

Luis Enrique then took the slightly surprising decision to replace Suarez with Pedro Rodriguez to keep the former Liverpool striker fresh for the return leg against PSG on Tuesday.

Bravo was needed to come to his side’s rescue once more 15 minutes from time when he turned the ball behind from Rodrigo’s volley.

But it was Messi who had the final word as he was given all the space he needed to break clear and score his 400th goal in 471 games for Barca in stoppage time as Valencia chased in vain for an equaliser.

Photo Credits : AFP

Argentina manage without Messi in win over El Salvador

Argentina rested superstar Lionel Messi but were still too powerful for El Salvador in a 2-0 friendly win over the Central American minnows at Fedex Field here Saturday.

A deflected Ever Banega strike on 54 minutes and a curling free-kick from debutant Federico Mancuello three minutes from time secured a straightforward win for the World Cup finalists as they build towards June’s Copa America in Chile.

Although Argentina football officials said early this week that tests showed Messi suffered no serious injury to his right foot when he took a knock in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid last Sunday, he missed training with the team in Washington on Thursday.

Argentina boss Gerardo Martino opted not to take any risks for Saturday’s encounter at the home of the Washington Redskins with another friendly against Ecuador on the horizon on Wednesday in suburban New York.

Messi’s Barca team-mate Javier Mascherano was also omitted from the starting line-up.

Even so, Argentina dominated the match against the central American side ranked 87th in the world by FIFA.

They saw a clear chance go begging in the second half, with in-form Juventus star Carlos Tevez firing wide two minutes before Banega’s long range effort struck El Salvador’s Nestor Renderos and flew past Salvadoran keeper Derby Carrillo to give the World Cup runners-up the lead.

Mancuello, who replaced struggling Manchester United star Angel Di Maria with 17 minutes to play, made a quick impact with his swinging effort that dropped into the far corner.

Photo Credits : AFP

‘Hart is a phenomenon’, says impressed Messi

Lionel Messi was in the unusual position of having to laud one of his opponents for once as Joe Hart produced a sensational performance, albeit to no avail, as Barcelona eliminated Manchester City from the Champions League on Wednesday.

Hart made 10 saves on the night to restrict Barca to a 1-0 victory thanks to Ivan Rakitic’s solitary strike on the half-hour mark which sealed a 3-1 aggregate triumph.

Messi teed up the Croatian with a wonderful assist, but his quest to move ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo as the all-time leading scorer in Champions League history was frustrated by the stunning form of the English international.

“Hart is a phenomenon,” said the four-time World Player of the Year.

“He saved everything today. I think we did everything to deserve a lot more, we had a lot of clear chances but the keeper had a brilliant game.

“We can only congratulate him, but the important thing is we achieved our objective to get through.”

Despite being held scoreless, Messi is widely regarded to be in one of the hottest streaks of his fantastic career as Barca have won 17 of their last 18 games to make a potential treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League a realistic target.

“I have gone from being a disaster to being in the best form of my career in a very short time,” Messi added ironically, referring to Barca’s mini-crisis having lost to Real Sociedad at the start of the year.

“I am just enjoying the moment like the rest of the team for the football we are playing and the results we are getting.”

Barca boss Luis Enrique repeated his belief that Messi is the greatest player of all time, and urged the club’s fans not to take his habitual brilliance for granted.

“He is the best player in the world without any doubt,” said Enrique.

“Of this time and even for me in the history of the game. It is obvious and we are enchanted to have him among us.

“We have the luck to have Lionel Messi and shouldn’t take for granted having a player of his class. It is a great pleasure and joy for all Barca fans to have him.”

City manager Manuel Pellegrini, meanwhile, said the presence of Messi gave Barca an advantage over the remaining sides in Friday’s draw for the last eight.

“Barca always have the added bonus of having Messi,” he said when asked to compare the Catalans with competition favourites Bayern Munich, who City faced in the group stages.

The English champions also played Bayern before being eliminated at the last 16 stage last season and Pellegrini said City’s tough draws over the past two seasons means their inability to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history cannot be considered a failure.

“I don’t think it is a failure. It is disappointing,” said the Chilean.

“Two years a row we have qualified for the last 16, which we didn’t in the previous years. Maybe if we had faced someone other than Barcelona we would be in the quarter-finals.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Messi to be enjoyed – Luis Enrique

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique said he is savouring the chance to watch Lionel Messi after the Argentine notched his fifth hat-trick of the season in a 5-0 romp over Levante on Sunday.

Messi was at the heart of the action as he teed up Neymar for the opener and then struck three times either side of half-time to take his tally for the season to 37 on his 300th La Liga appearance.

Neymar was then replaced by Luis Suarez midway through the second-half and he also made his presence felt with a stunning overhead kick to round off the scoring.

Enrique had made eight changes to the side that had beaten Villarreal in the Copa del Rey in midweek, but dismissed suggestions he could have also taken the chance to withdraw Messi after he had completed his hat-trick.

“The idea is to enjoy. That is what we are doing, enjoying him as much as possible,” said Enrique.

The four-time World Player of the Year has been unstoppable in 2015 with 14 goals and 10 assists in 11 appearances.

That upturn in fortunes has coincided with Messi moving to a slightly wider position to allow Suarez to play as a central striker and Enrique lauded his ability to create as well finish.

“Against teams that play deep and with a lot of players in the middle of the field we need to have width and move the ball quickly to crate danger.

“It is key for us that Leo participates a lot, that he can have many touches to be able to create two or three on ones, makes passes and create space.

“When there are a lot of people in the middle it is harder for him to combine, so he has freedom to go where he can find space.”

Enrique received criticism earlier in the season for his rotation policy, but he is beginning to look justified as Barca enter a decisive part of the campaign on the back of an 11-game winning run, whilst Madrid have faltered in recent weeks.

“That was an objective we had at the start of the season to have a big squad with so much quality,” he said.

“Having so many quality players allows you to rotate. I would say that we have almost unlimited resources.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Barcelona stars in new Qatar airlines advert

Its not a surprise when famous sports personalities are chosen to be brand ambassadors for clothing lines, sports brands, colognes ,deodorants , energy drinks among others.

It wasn’t much of a surprise when Qatar airlines decided to use FC Barcelona’s  Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Neymar, Pique  and Suarez  for an advertisement dubbed  “The FCB Holiday”.

This also coupled by the fact the Qatar airlines re the official sponsors of Barcelona Foootball club.

Critics say that the advertisement isn’t quite what it should be, however we believe everyone has their own taste and we will therefore let you be the judge. Here is the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XeZm-Znkpc

Messi misses Barcelona training due to ‘personal reasons’

Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi missed training on Monday due to “personal reasons”, Barcelona confirmed.

“Messi hasn’t trained today, with the permission of the club, due to personal reasons,” Barca said in a statement.

The Argentine continued his fine form with the winning goal as Barca came from behind twice to beat Villarreal 3-2 on Sunday.

Yet, it is just over a month since Messi missed another training session in front of the club’s fans, claiming to be suffering from gastroenteritis, a day after he had been left on the bench for Barca’s 1-0 defeat at Real Sociedad.

His absence on that occasion sparked a mini-crisis at the club as speculation grew over coach Luis Enrique’s future due to his frosty relationship with his star player.

However, since then Barca have strung together eight straight victories to move into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and remain just a point adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Barca aren’t in action again until Sunday when they travel to face Athletic Bilbao, so Enrique has given all of his squad Tuesday and Wednesday off ahead of a return to training on Thursday.

Photo Credits : AFP

Messi hands Barca slender Cup lead over Atletico

Lionel Messi struck five minutes from time to hand Barcelona a vital 1-0 lead heading into the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final with Atletico Madrid.

Atletico looked set to round off a fine day for the club after the confirmation that Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin will spend 45 million euros ($52 million) for 20 percent of the club by holding out for a 0-0 draw.

However, Juanfran was penalised for kicking Sergio Busquets inside the area late on and Messi was relieved to slot home at the second attempt after seeing his penalty saved by Jan Oblak.

The two sides will meet again at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid on Wednesday, January 28.

Fernando Torres was paired once more with Antoine Griezmann up front for Atletico after the pair combined to allow Torres to score in the opening minute of each half as they secured a 4-2 aggregate win over Real Madrid in the last 16 last week.

However, just like in their league meeting 10 days ago, it was Barca who made a fast start this time and Atletico ‘keeper Oblak was forced into a fine save to turn Neymar’s curling effort behind after just four minutes.

Atletico weathered the early storm without any more scares, though, and grew into the game as it wore on. Torres saw a low shot deflect wide off Gerard Pique, whilst Guilherme Siqueira’s cross from the left was just too high for Griezmann as the Frenchman’s header sailed harmlessly over.

Barca’s best chance of the opening half arrived 10 minutes before the break when Ivan Rakitic’s ball into the box landed at the feet of Luis Suarez, but he somehow blazed over with just Oblak to beat from point-blank range.

Torres then failed to find Griezmann as he gifted the ball to Pique to end a promising break and that was to be the former Chelsea striker’s last involvement as he was replaced at half-time by Mario Mandzukic.

A similar pattern ensued after the break as Barca enjoyed plenty of possession without being able to create too many clear-cut chances against the well-organised ranks of Atletico defence.

Oblak was alert to a low drive by Andres Iniesta from the edge of the area, but Barca’s frustrations began to bubble over as both Suarez and Javier Mascherano were booked for taking the protests towards the referee too far.

However, Jose Luis Gonzalez rightly pointed to the spot when Busquets was upended by Juanfran seven minutes from time and despite a fine save by Oblak to stop Messi’s penalty, the Argentine followed-up to slot home the rebound.

Barca could have taken an even greater advantage to the Calderon had Miranda not got a touch to divert a Messi cross towards Neymar into Oblak’s grateful arms moments later.

Photo Credits : AFP

Enrique says Messi part of Barca future planning

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is insisting a future without star player Lionel Messi has never been considered as speculation over the Argentine’s future continues to mount.

Tensions have been simmering at Barcelona with the coach insisting Messi play a wider role in the line-up.

Messi had appeared to rule out a move following a stunning individual performance in Sunday’s 3-1 win over La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.

“I have never demanded anything to ensure that I stay because I have never had any intention of leaving,” he told Barca TV.

However, the following day he fuelled the rumour mill once more by saying “I don’t know where I’ll be next year” during a press conference ahead of the Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich.

“I don’t know what the future will bring,” said Enrique when asked if he thought Messi would win a fifth Ballon d’Or whilst at Barcelona.

“We all think that Messi will be at Barcelona for the coming years, it is what all the fans want. We are not even planning a squad without Messi.”

The speculation has arisen due to a reported breakdown in communications between Messi and Enrique.

Messi was left on the bench as Barca fell to a shock 1-0 defeat in their opening game of the year away to Real Sociedad and then missed training the next day, claiming to have suffered from a stomach bug.

Later that day he followed Chelsea and two of their players Thibaut Courtois and Filipe Luis on social media site Instagram and sources in the Catalan press then claimed Messi had met with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu to ask for the former Barca captain Enrique to be replaced as coach.

Both Messi and Bartomeu have since denied those claims, with the former particularly aggrieved that the reports surfaced in the Catalan press.

“It hurts me because it comes from here, from Barcelona, from people that love the club, or say they do. It doesn’t come from Madrid like it has in the past,” said Messi.

“It is not good that they look for rivalry between Luis Enrique and I because there isn’t any.”

And Enrique repeated his assertion that there is no division in the dressing room ahead of a demanding schedule in the coming weeks as Barca battle to advance in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, as well as clawing back a one-point deficit on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

“The dressing room is united. We avoid the controversy and look for the best atmosphere possible.

“That is what we look for, although we know that things can change in five seconds. I see unity in every aspect.”

Enrique’s men are back in action on Thursday night when they face Elche in the second leg of their last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

The match should be a mere formality with Barcelona having won the first leg 5-0 last week and Enrique confirmed that a host of the club’s academy players would get a chance to prove their worth with a much tougher test in either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid lying in wait should Barca progress to the last eight.

Photo Credits : AFP

Messi, Neymar ease ‘crisis’ Barca towards Cup quarters

Barcelona eased their crisis ridden week with a comprehensive 5-0 thrashing of Elche to all but seal their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Despite the speculation surrounding his future in recent days, Lionel Messi captained the side on his return to the starting line-up and scored from the penalty spot after goals from Neymar and Luis Suarez had already put the hosts in command.

Jordi Alba added a fourth after the break before Neymar rounded off the scoring in style with a powerful drive from 20 yards out.

Barring a meltdown in the return leg on January 15, Barca will face the winners of the tie between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in the last eight.

Messi and Neymar were among eight changes made by under fire coach Luis Enrique from the side that lost 1-0 at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

The two South American stars looked keen to make a point to their boss from the off and Neymar was unlucky to see a penalty appeal turned away 10 minutes in when he was bumped to the ground by Damien Suarez.

Dani Alves was then inches away from a spectacular opener as he returned a punch from Elche ‘keeper Przemysław Tyton back towards goal from 30 yards out, but the ball flew just wide.

Neymar also came close when he lifted a wonderful pass by Messi over the onrushing Tyton only to see the ball fly also just beyond the far post.

However, Barca finally made the breakthrough 11 minutes before half-time when an enticing low cross by Suarez was smashed home at the far post by Neymar.

The Uruguayan found the net himself moments later with a brilliant individual effort as he rolled his marker before cutting inside and fooling Tyton with a near post finish.

Messi’s name was chanted regularly by the sparse Camp Nou crowd in a sign of support after a difficult few days for all those at the club, and he added his name to the scoresheet from the spot after Neymar had been upended by Enzo Roco.

The one way traffic continued after the break as another sumptuous pass from Messi freed Alba inside the area to fire low past Tyton to make it 4-0.

Yet, the best was still to come from Enrique’s men when Neymar cut inside onto his favoured right foot and thumped home his second of the night off the underside of the bar from 20 yards.

The Brazilian was denied the chance to grab his second hat-trick of the season, though, as he was replaced by Pedro Rodriguez with 23 minutes remaining after suffering another heavy challenge from Suarez.

Earlier, Sevilla took a big step towards securing their place in the last eight with a 2-1 win at Andalusian rivals Granada.

Goals from Barca loanee Gerard Deulofeu and Kevin Gameiro either side of half-time put the visitors on course to victory, but Lass Bangoura’s injury time strike on his Granada debut gives Joaquin Caparros’s men a ray of hope heading into next week’s return leg at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Photo Credits : AFP

Barcelona coach gives board an ultimatum: It’s either me or Messi

Embattled Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has told the board that he and Lionel Messi can no longer work together, with the Argentine captain also considering his future at the Catalan club.

“The wider situation at Camp Nou has become so poisonous that, following the departures of sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and club legend Carles Puyol and the subsequent revelations about the relationship between Messi and his coach, an emergency meeting was called on Wednesday,” according to Goal.

“The club’s senior players are to act as intermediaries between Messi and Luis Enrique in an attempt to restore harmony within the ranks, but the relationship now looks broken beyond repair and Barca are already looking at possible alternatives to the Asturian coach.

“Things were tense between player and coach in the months leading up until Christmas, but it came to a head in an argument on January 2 as Messi returned to training with Barca after his holidays in South America,” according to the website.

 

Lionel Messi divorce on the cards?

The future of Lionel Messi at Barcelona has been thrown into doubt after reports of a fallout between the player and head coach Luis Enrique.
Enrique’s position is not thought to be under threat despite reports of a confrontation between Messi and Barca’s board over the authoritarian approach of the club’s former midfielder.

Messi missed training on Monday due to an upset stomach but remains linked in Spain with a summer move to Chelsea, Manchester City or Paris St-Germain.

The front page of Spanish newspaper Marca Tuesday highlighted Messi’s apparent discontent and sparked speculation of a possible move by Messi to Chelsea.

The rumours add to the general air of turbulence at Barca, who sacked Andoni Zubizarreta as their sporting director.

Carles Puyol quit as his assistant on Monday, less than 24 hours after a shock defeat to David Moyes’s Real Sociedad.

Barcelona are not allowed to do business in the transfer market until 2016 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed an appeal against the Fifa ban imposed on them in April for breaching rules on signing players aged under 18.

 

Messi follows Chelsea on instagram

Lionel Messi made waves on Monday when he started following the English club on Instagram.

The move brought hilarious comments and opinions and some even predicted that the star might be moving to Chelsea.

This was especially after he was left out of the game with Real Sociedad.

Mourinho had dismissed the claims in November about having to signing Messi.

messi IG

messi IG2 messi IG 3

Images courtesy of The score

 

Angel di Maria voted Argentina player of the year

Manchester United’s Angel di Maria has been voted Argentina’s foreign-based player of the year by the country’s sports journalists, beating Lionel Messi to the award.

Di Maria, who joined Louis van Gaal’s side for a club record £60million fee this summer, won the Olimpia de Plata (Silver Olimpia award) at a ceremony on Tuesday after pipping Messi to the prize.

Di Maria helped former club Real Madrid win their 10th European Cup in May and Argentina reach the World Cup final, which he missed through injury, in Brazil and has made an impressive start to his career in England.

 

Messi is now the all – time La Liga scorer

Leo Messi is now the new all-time La Liga scoring leader. He scored three times against Sevilla at Camp Nou on Saturday evening, giving him a total of 253 for his career, thus surpassing the previous record held by Telmo Zarra since 1955.

Telmo Zarraonaindía played for Athletic Bilbao from 1940 to 1955, scoring 251 goals in 277 games (0.91 per game). Almost 60 years later, Messi has gone past him. Just a few weeks after the 10th anniversary of Messi’s Barça debut, the Argentinian scored his 253rd career goal in only 289 league matches (0.87 per game).

The 27 year-old Leo Messi has now reached the summit, one season after surpassing the career marks of Hugo Sanchez  (234),  Raul (228), Alfredo Di Stefano (227), Cesar (224) and Quini (219). The eighth player to have over 200 career league goals is Pahiño (210).

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner first found the net on May 1st, 2005 against Albacete at Camp Nou. Since then, especially since the 2008/2009 season, Messi hasn’t seen a record he hasn’t broken. His best year was in 2011/2012 when he got 50 of his 253 league goals.

One of the few records he has yet to break is that of the maximum number of seasons leading La Liga in scoring. Zarra holds that record still, with six. Messi has done it three times, in 2009/10, 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Source : fcbarcelona

Messi breaks Spanish league record with 253 goals

Lionel Messi was raised aloft by his Barcelona teammates after becoming the Spanish league’s all-time leading scorer in style on Saturday.

Messi topped the 251-goal mark, netting his first hat trick of the season in a 5-1 win over Sevilla. It’s now 253 goals and counting for the 27-year-old Argentina star.

But Barcelona remains two points behind Real Madrid in the standings after Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice in a 4-0 victory over Eibar.

Chelsea’s position at the top in England also remains unchallenged after a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, while third-place champion Manchester City edged Swansea 2-1. Manchester United is in the top four for the first time in 2014 after winning 2-1 at Arsenal to provide Louis van Gaal with a much-needed lift at the start of his Premier League managerial career.