December 23 – Lionel Messi has cemented his place as one of the sport’s greatest ever icons by breaking Pele’s goalscoring record for a single club.
The mercurial Argentine, who admits he has been under-performing this season, scored his 644th goal for Barcelona in a 3-0 victory over Real Valladolid.
Messi equalled Pele’s milestone at the weekend against Valencia, but claimed it for his own in his very next game. Pele achieved his feat for Santos between 1956 and 1974, a total of 18 years, with Messi beating that record in his 17th season at the Nou Camp.
“When I started playing football I never thought I’d break any record, especially not the one I achieved today that Pele held,” Messi wrote on Instagram after the match. “I can only give my thanks to everyone who helped me during these years, my teammates, my family, my friends, and everyone who supports me every day.”
On Saturday, after Messi scored his 643rd goal and equalled Pele’s record, the 80-year-old Brazilian congratulated him on social media.
“Stories like ours, of loving the same club for so long, unfortunately will be increasingly rare in football,” wrote Pele.
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