Messi hits 700 career goals.

Ahmedabad

Lionel Messi’s goal in 2-2 LaLiga Santander draw at home to Atletico de Madrid was the 700th of the Argentina international’s stellar career.

Messi’s previous 699 goals came across all competitions over his 16 years to date as a senior player with club and country. He now has 630 in 724 games for FC Barcelona and 70 in 138 caps for the Argentina international team.

The current Barça captain’s first goal for the Catalans came in LaLiga against Albacete on 1 May 2005. He now has 441 goals in 480 LaLiga games in LaLiga, 114 in 141 Champions League appearances, 53 strikes in his 75 Copa del Rey outings, three in four European Super Cup finals, five in five appearances at the Club World Cup and 14 goals in 19 games in the Spanish Super Cup.

Also skipper of the Argentina national team, he scored his first senior goal for his country in a friendly against Croatia in March 2006, while his latest strike came in his most recent international game against Uruguay in November 2019.

A winner of 10 LaLiga titles, four Champions Leagues and six career Ballon d’Ors, Messi has scored three or more goals in 54 different games to date for either club or country. He scored five in one Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen in 2011-12, while his 91 goals in the calendar year 2012 is another unique personal record.

In October 2014, Messi became LaLiga’s all-time top goalscorer, breaking the previous record of 251 reached by legendary striker Telmo Zarra playing for his only club Athletic Club between 1940 and 1955.

Zarra now sits third on that list, with Messi’s long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo finding the net an incredible 311 times during his 292 LaLiga games for Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018. Now at Italian side Juventus, Ronaldo’s total career goals to date is 728 (in 1005 senior career games, including 99 goals in 164 international caps with Portugal).

Comparing goals and records across different eras of football history is difficult, but it is generally acknowledged that at least seven players have reached the 700 goals mark in senior competitive football.

Czech-Austrian forward Josef Bican has been credited with 805 goals between the 1930s and 1950s, although those were different times.

Former Barcelona star Romario claims 772 goals, although some say that figure is conveniently just ahead of the 767 reached by his fellow Brazilian Pele. Ex-Real Madrid forward Ferenc Puskas retired in 1966 on 746 goals in total, while Germany’s Gerd ‘Der Bomber’ Muller reached 735 by the time he hung up his boots in 1981.

Messi (and Ronaldo) are still going and they have been playing at the highest level during the highly competitive and demanding modern era, which for many places their achievements as the greatest ever.

Having just turned 33 in late June, Messi also has time on his side to push his many personal records even further into the stratosphere. 700 career goals… and counting.