10 Highlights from Lionel Messi's 400 Games with Barcelona

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

10 Highlights from Lionel Messi's 400 Games with Barcelona

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Lionel Messi played a big part in Barcelona's 4-1 comeback win over Levante on Wednesday night, the Argentine forward's 400th game for his club.

    The 26-year-old has netted 331 goals in his 400 games and, though he didn't hit the scoresheet against Levante, he did provide three assists for Cristian Tello, who hit a hat-trick.

    A four-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi has an amazing litany of records and goals to his name; here are 10 of the best highlights from his 400 games as a Barcelona player.

10. Messi's First Competitive Goal

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    Messi's ability in front of the goal was brought to the world stage at the beginning of May 2005, when he netted his first La Liga goal for Barcelona.

    Having been denied by an offside flag minutes earlier, Messi eventually lobbed the keeper after being chipped through on goal by Ronaldinho.

    That's right, a Ronaldinho assist for Messi's first goal. Kinda perfect, no?

9. Messi's Century of Goals

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    Messi's 100th goal for Barcelona came against Sevilla at the Camp Nou.

    While it doesn't particularly stand out for being one of his best-ever strikes, the milestone is nonetheless an important one worthy of note.

    This came in the 2009-10 season in a 4-0 win.

8. Champions League Final 2009

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    Messi took part in his first Champions League final in 2009, when Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0.

    The Argentine scored the second goal of the game—heading in a looped effort across the face of goal to seal the game.

7. Hat-Trick Against Atletico

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    Late in 2011, Messi scored another memorable treble, this time against Atletico Madrid.

    The game finished up 5-0 with Messi involved in four, scoring three.

    His great ability to dribble past players, feint in both directions and produce unerring finishes was displayed to the max as Thibaut Courtois and Co. were rendered helpless.

6. Real Madrid Hat-Trick

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    The 2006-07 season saw a big landmark for the forward as he hit a spectacular hat-trick at home against archrivals Real Madrid.

    Two goals in the opening half-hour served notice of his fine finishing ability, but the best was saved for last.

    In stoppage time at the end of the game with his side trailing 3-2, Messi picked up the ball centrally, beat two defenders for pace and smashed the ball across the keeper for a stunning hat-trick strike to rescue a point.

5. Champions League Final 2011

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    Two years later, Messi was in his second Champions League final against the same opposition.

    Once more, he scored Barca's second goal of the game, this time en route to a 3-1 win. The forward was voted as the Man of the Match for his telling performance, with his low drive from 20 yards proving vital in reestablishing Barcelona's lead.

4. Four vs. Espanyol to Surpass 70 for the Season

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    Pep Guardiola's last home match in charge of Barcelona was one to remember anyway, but Leo Messi ensured it was even more so with a four-goal haul against Catalan rivals Espanyol.

    A free-kick, a coolly-taken penalty, a sprint and driven hat-trick strike and another composed spot-kick sealed the deal.

    It also took Messi to a phenomenal 72 goals for the season. One more Copa del Rey final goal ensured he ended the season on 73.

3. Messi vs Real Madrid in the Champions League Clasico

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    Back to 2010-11 again and Messi's big Champions League night against Real Madrid.

    A fairly horrible Clasico, more remembered for the fouls, arguing between players and surrounding of the referee than anything else, was lit up by a late brace from the No. 10.

    He first ghosted in at the near post to convert a cross before escaping five challenges from Real defenders to slide home a wonderful, wonderful second.

    Those goals were enough to help see his team through to the final.

2. Messi Utterly Destroys Arsenal

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    One of Messi's most virtuoso performances came in the Champions League in 2009-10, as he blitzed Arsenal's defence with a four-goal haul.

    Arsenal had taken an early lead before the Argentine took hold, with his team eventually winning 4-1.

    The result saw Barcelona move through to the semi-finals.

1. Maradona-Esque Goal vs Getafe?

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    At age 19, Messi scored what is arguably one of the best individual goals of the modern era.

    His goal against Getafe was reminiscent of another Argentine forward's historical goal, as he dribbled from inside his own half past seven challenges, including the goalkeeper, and finished coolly with his right foot.

    It's a goal which, for many, defines his early brilliance.