FC Barcelona

Lionel Messi Smashes Paulino Alcantara's Goalscoring Record at Barcelona

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, celebrates after scoring during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Osasuna at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press
Paul WilkesFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

It was always only a matter of time before the world's greatest player would surpass the goalscoring record at his club. Some might proclaim it was destiny or written in the stars—a case of when, not if.

Lionel Messi came into Sunday's match against Osasuna with a record of eight goals in his last three home league encounters with the Pamplona club, a total of 14 goals in 14 games versus the side. 

Those that doubt his ability when facing more physically imposing styles should look no further than these statistics. Messi is clearly still effective against teams like Osasuna. He added three more to that total on Sunday in a 7-0 romp, with the hat-trick allowing him to overtake Paulino Alcantara at 371 goals for Barcelona in official games and friendlies.

Right from Messi's very first goal for the club in 2005, when he was 17, there was a sense of something special. When clubs sign "world-class" players, you often see the link-up play with your current star men straight away. For such an understanding with Ronaldinho, who was then the "best player in the world," it was truly remarkable for a youngster climbing the ranks.

The Brazilian's chip over the defence for Messi to score with a lob was fantastic the first time as it was cruelly ruled out for offside. To do it a second time and claim his opening strike for Blaugrana was unbelievable.

There have been many favourites over the years that will be forever etched in different supporters' minds. The slalom run against Getafe, the header in the Champions League final against Manchester United and the countless finishes in El Clasico.

Nowadays the exceptional has become normal. This is a season that has been disrupted by injury and seen Messi tailor his style a little since returning. He still has 31 goals in 33 games for Barcelona, via ESPN statistics, in what has been described as a quiet campaign.

It was a little flick of the boot that took Messi level with the record and opened Barca's scoring. Alexis Sanchez squared it for the Argentine and he got the touch to send it over the line, despite Pedro's efforts to make sure.

His second saw him rebound between two defenders before the ball fell to Andres Iniesta; the midfielder pulled it back at the byline for Messi to fend off a third opposition member and finish. That pushed him ahead of Alcantara, who had a career spanning 1912 to 1927 with 369 goals in 357 appearances.

Messi seemed to have all the time in the world to complete his treble. Dani Alves expertly brought the ball under control, skipping inside of left-back Damia and then supplying Messi. A touch with his left, before picking his spot with his right.

Messi always looked like he had another gear left that he never needed, whilst simultaneously improving as the match continued.

It was a poor defensive performance from Osasuna, as they were a little lacklustre when it came to making challenges and stopping the shots. But take nothing away from Barcelona, who were in the mood to make a point ahead of next week's meeting with Real Madrid.

Iniesta's well struck effort with his left foot was a quality goal, but the best finish of the match was saved for Cristian Tello. The substitute was going away from goal as he beat two players and somehow was able to wrap his foot around the ball to finish in the top corner.

Messi now has 25 career hat-tricks and will surely improve his goalscoring feats as the World Cup approaches.

For Osasuna the 7-0 thrashing was a major blow for their survival hopes, but the team could take small consolation that it wasn't eight. They came away with that scoreline two and a half years ago with Jose Luis Mendilibar at the helm, via Goal.

On that occasion, Messi also left with the match-ball, as Pep Guardiola's team were just as dominant.

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