Lionel Messi Chases Ronaldo's Goal Record

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Lionel Messi Chases Ronaldo's Goal Record
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The 22-year-old Argentine needs no introduction. It will come as a shock to absolutely no one that he currently leads the list of goalscorers playing in Europe.

With 40 goals in 44 games in all competitions, he is hot on the trail of the single season record set by Ronaldo.

You, dear reader, will most likely be asking yourself which Ronaldo is being referred to? It is a fair question due to the similar goalscoring exploits of the two players to be dubbed Ronaldo.

Worry, not. The record in question does not belong to Cristiano Ronaldo, but Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, the Brazilian striker and World Cup winner.

The former also possesses a single season scoring record of sorts. He managed the impressive sum of 42 goals in 48 games. However, at the rate Messi is knocking them in, 42 will be surpassed before you finish reading the next paragraph.

The real challenge will be to overcome the 47 scored by O Fenômeno in the 1996/1997 season. This feat was achieved in 49 games by a 20-year-old Ronaldo in his first season in Spain. It remains the single-season record for a Barcelona player.

It was Ronaldo's only season in the blue and claret shirt. The following season he moved on to Inter Milan in a world record transfer. His progression was cut short by a series of horrendous knee injuries that threatened to end his career prematurely. He would eventually recover and go on to win many things in football, but he never produced this kind of form again.

Like Ronaldo, Messi is in the form of his life. He has also been recognised as the best player in the world at a sensationally young age.

If he is to break Ronaldo's record, he has up to 10 more games remaining in which to do it.

Additionally, if he is to go after Ronaldo's record of 34 goals in La Liga, he will have to score a goal a game in the seven that remain, as he currently has 27. That is still a far way off from the all-time record of 38.

That record is jointly held by Real Madrid's Hugo Sanchez and Athletic Bilbao's Telmo Zarra. It may be a bridge too far for Messi this year, but as he continues to improve season after season, it is only a fool that bets against him.

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