Leo Messi's New Record and the Top 5 Players from Around the World This Weekend
Just as it looked as if his crown was about to slip, Lionel Messi has bounced back from recent injury concerns to show us why he is the owner of four Ballon d'Or trophies.
The Argentine was on form once again this weekend, and he earned himself yet another goalscoring record.
The Barcelona star leads our list of the top five players from this weekend.
With his brace last weekend in Seville putting his Barcelona goal tally at 335, Leo Messi became the leading goalscorer for a single Spanish club.
This weekend, the Argentinean superstar scored yet another brace and broke another record. In doing his part in the Blaugrana's 6-0 demolition of relegation contenders Rayo Vallecano, Messi leapfrogged Alfredo Di Stefano's La Liga goal tally, putting his league record at 228 strikes in 263 matches—one game more than Stefano, as per Reuters (via The Guardian).
The Atomic Flea also jumped to joint third in the all-time Spanish Primera scorer list along with Raul with just Athletic Bilbao legend Telmo Zarra (251) and Mexican maestro Hugo Sanchez (234) ahead of him.
To use Iain Dowie's favourite term, Messi has shown an incredible level of bouncebackability from his recent injury concerns. His first goal of Saturday's match, meanwhile, was a sublime chip that will count among his best executed strikes.
Sunderland may be in a perilous position in the league, but their cup form remains excellent. After eliminating Manchester United from the League Cup for a place in the final, they booked their place in the last eight of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday.
The performance of the day came from Black Cats midfielder Craig Gardner, whose goal in the 49th minute made the difference in the game. Gardner is no stranger to sweetly hit, long-range efforts, and his 20-yard shot took a layer of paint off of the underside of the bar as it dipped over Kelvin Davis.
Everton progressed to the last eight of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over Swansea City thanks in part to a terrific, whirlwind 30-minute performance from Steven Naismith.
The Scottish forward came on as a substitute in the 60th minute and took only five minutes to poach his fourth goal in five games for the Toffees.
In the 72nd minute of the match, he was brought down by Ashley Richards to win a penalty that Leighton Baines converted.
Naismith didn't make it to full time, following a collision with Jordi Amat that left him concussed.
Manager Roberto Martinez hailed his effectiveness, via Sky Sports, and when it transpired that the Scot could not remember his goal after his injury, his boss jokingly told him he had scored from 40 yards, as per Alex Richards of Mirror Football.
Lukasz Fabianski played a terrific game in Arsenal's 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool at The Emirates on Sunday, but the Gunners' best player was probably Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The Ox scored the opener in the 16th minute and set up Lukas Podolski for the winner.
Since his return from injury, the 20-year-old seems to be getting better and better. The Times' Henry Winter was one of many to suggest this performance will help cement his place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.
Thanks to their policy of importing foreign talent at a great price, Real Madrid let relatively few of their Castilla players shine on the biggest stage. Twenty-year-old Jese, however, is showing the kind of form that is forcing Carlo Ancelotti to give him game time.
The nimble forward needed only five minutes to open the scoring at Getafe in Los Blancos' 3-0 victory on Sunday, and he remained a threat for the rest of the game.
Jese only earned his first La Liga start less than a fortnight ago and has managed five goals in the last six games. When Cristiano Ronaldo returns from his suspension, it will be interesting to see how much time Madrid's young prodigy gets on the field.