Lionel Messi's La Liga Scoring Run and the 13 Best Streaks in European History

Tre' Atkinson@@TreAtkinsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2013

Lionel Messi's La Liga Scoring Run and the 13 Best Streaks in European History

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    Scoring against Rayo Vallecano, Lionel Messi made history. The Barcelona star set the bar having scored in 18 straight league matches, not only a record in La Liga, but in all of football (via Fox).

    It is no secret that Messi is a history maker. But though his scoring streak is something absolutely incredible, there are also other amazing streaks in football that deserve mention.

    In this article we will take a look at the 13 most impressive streaks in European football, and it will be up to you to decide where Messi’s run ranks.

    The streaks will not be in any particular order, but feel free to give your opinion on which is the best of the best.

    Note: all records can be found in the European records database and Champions League records database.

Most Consecutive Champions League Appearances

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    Not many realize that Manchester United has been setting a new record every year that is quite impressive. Just this season, the English side qualified and competed in their 17th straight Champions League season.

    From the season of 1996 until now, the Red Devils have not missed out on the Champions League action.

    Just let that sink in for a minute.

    One of the most prestigious football tournaments on the planet and it seems like Manchester United is always vying for the trophy.

    Two clubs currently trail the record holders. Real Madrid has competed in 16 straight Champions League seasons, while Arsenal has seen action in 15 straight.

    But with their consecutive runs all intertwining it doesn’t look like either will catch them. Manchester United is currently on pace to qualify again for next season, meaning the record will be extended yet again.

Most Consecutive Ballon D'Or Trophies Won

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    Everyone who watches football is aware of the history that was made earlier this year. Lionel Messi became not only the first player to lift the Ballon d’Or a record four times, but he did so by claiming the trophy in four consecutive years.

    This amazing streak is a testament to the consistent level of play that Lionel Messi has kept. But it is the manner by which Messi won all four trophies that is the most astonishing.

    To win such a coveted title four consecutive years shows that the Argentine has not let up in his development. He is still growing as a player and shows no signs of stopping.

    Just like the first incredible streak on our list, this too could be extended.

Most Consecutive Seasons Past the Champions League Group Stage

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    Making it to the Champions League can be nearly impossible for most clubs. Advancing past the group stages in the European tournament can prove a daunting task.

    But there is one club that has been consistent enough to advance to the round of 16 in 16 consecutive Champions League seasons.

    That club would be none other than Real Madrid.

    From 1997 to the current season, Los Blancos have booked their place among Europe’s top group of clubs. This feat cannot be praised enough as it shows the longevity of Real Madrid’s continued success in Europe.

    Most clubs would see advancing past the group stage in consecutive seasons to be a dream come true. But for the boys in white, 16 straight seasons is definitely something to brag about.

Longest Unbeaten Run at Home in Domestic League Play

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    From February 1957 to March of 1965 Real Madrid did what borders on the edge of the impossible. The Spanish giants pulled off an incredible run of 121 games unbeaten at home in domestic competitions.

    At first glance, this record seems too incredible to be real.

    Not only did the club go unbeaten at home over the course of one year, Los Blancos ended their run after an astonishing eight seasons.

    This is not merely a streak or record, a mark like this is history at its finest. It is unlikely that any other club will surpass this mark, but if that happens, we may all be looking at a new dynasty.

    The Santiago Bernabeu is a fortress.

Longest Unbeaten Run at Home in the Champions League

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    If staying undefeated at home in domestic play is big, then doing the same in the Champions League could be even more impressive. It is a German team that owns this record, and if you guessed Bayern Munich, you would be correct.

    The Germans remained undefeated at home in 31 straight matches beginning back in 1997 and ending against Real Madrid in 2002.

    Image the utter strength needed to hold down a record such as this.

    Bayern Munich is known as one of the best Champions League performers since the competition began, and it is easy to see why.

Scoring in the Most Consecutive Champions League Seasons

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    Real Madrid and Spain legend Raul is one of the greatest European players of all time. He has been known as one of the marque performers in the Champions League and owns a very impressive streak.

    Raul set a record when we accomplished the feat of scoring in 14 straight Champions League seasons.

    Ponder this streak for a moment. That means not that only was his club at top level to remain in the competition, but Raul was one of the best in the world for such an extended time to contribute in so many consecutive Champions League seasons.

    The likes of Lionel Messi and other young stars may be the only players who can eventually break this record. But if the record is broken, it will take a very long time.

Scoring in the Most Consecutive Champions League Matches

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    In the Champions League every team steps their game up. Scoring becomes much more difficult, as does defending. But when Barcelona comes to town, it is almost guaranteed that goals will come.

    The Catalan outfit holds the record for having scoring in the most consecutive Champions League games with 29 straight matches.

    This impressive streak broke Bayern Munich’s previous record of scoring in 22 straight matches from the season of 2000. But it is what this streak means for Barcelona that makes it so incredible.

    In the Champions League, everything is decided by goals. Not only was the club able to score consistently, but they constantly put themselves in positions to win.

Most Consecutive European Finals

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    Two clubs hold very prestigious records in the Champions League. Real Madrid was able to make it to five straight European Cup finals, while AC Milan made it to three straight Champions League finals.

    The reason that there are two records is because both were accomplished in different eras of the cup.

    Real Madrid does hold the all-time record, but the cup has changed a lot since it first began.

    Though no one has ever repeated as champions in the current Champions League, a few clubs have won consecutive titles in the more modern era of football. 

    Fans can talk about most consecutive wins or goals scored, but if the end result is not lifting the trophy, then all the other records really do not amount to much.

    AC Milan may go down as the greatest club to every play in Champions League. It is very hard to argue against what they have done.

Most Consecutive Wins in Domestic Play

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    The days of Benfica being a world football powerhouse may be behind them, but the Portuguese club has already been strong in domestic play despite what they do in Europe.

    From the seasons of 1971 to 1973, Benfica set their name in stone in the domestic league.

    The club was able to pull off an incredible run of winning 29 straight matches. We have been talking a while about unbeaten runs, but this is different.

    The level of play shown by Benfica at the time was unbelievable. The Portuguese club dominated their league and deserves immense praise for pulling off such a feat.

Longest Unbeaten Run in Domestic League

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    If you haven’t yet heard of Steaua Bucuresti, you have now. The Romanian giant has set a mark that may never be reached again in domestic play.

    From June of 1986 to September of 1989, the Romanian club pulled off an unbelievable streak of 104 unbeaten matches in league play.

    This record is not for just home games, it is across the entire league play.

    Let us think about this for a moment. For over three years, the club failed to lose a game on Romanian soil. It is no wonder that Steaua Bucuresti is the most popular club in the country.

    And if we take a look at the club who rank second on this list, it becomes even more impressive. FC Sheriff Tiraspol took their streak to 63 games unbeaten, far from the Romian club’s record.

Jose Mourinho's Unbeaten Streak at Home in League Play

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    The world of football is still lighting up concerning Jose Mourinho’s record. The Portuguese tactician finally ended his streak having gone unbeaten in 150 straight home games in league play after falling to Sporting Gijon in 2011 (via Telegraph).

    This record is completely unbelievable seeing as how it crosses borders.

    After finding success with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid it is no secret that Mourinho can be considered one of the greatest managers in football history.

    Many doubt that this streak will ever be challenged. But for now, Jose Mourinho deserves to be praised for accomplishing such a feat.

Edwin Van Der Sar's Goalkeeping Streaks

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    Manchester United fans were worried when they found out that they would eventually have to make do without Edwin van der Sar after the Dutch keeper finally retired.

    The Red Devil keeper will go down as one of the best and hold two very impressive streaks for a goal keeper (via Fox).

    In the 2009 season, Van der Sar was finally scored against. But until then, he had taken the Red Devil defense to heights never before reached.

    Not only did the keeper finishing with an amazing 14 straight clean sheets, but he went 1,302 straight minutes without conceding a goal.

    This record speaks for itself for sure. Will it ever be broken? Unlikely.

Lionel Messi's Goal Scoring Run

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    Scoring in 18 consecutive league matches is something that ranks right up there with the best streaks in Europe. It is no surprise that Lionel Messi has set this record, but even more so is the fact that he can extend this run.

    The record comes at a time in which Messi is just now reaching his peak. There is no limit on what Messi can accomplish, but this record will go down as one of his best.

    But in light of Messi’s scoring run, it is important that we take in other streaks that have dominated European football.

    So where does Messi’s streak rank among the best? Which of these runs is the best? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.

    Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Lionel Messi and European Football.