In the midweek Champions League match against BATE Borisov, Lionel Messi scored two goals to hit a career total of 194 strikes in a Barcelona shirt. With this, he equaled Ladislao Kubala's total and became the second highest scorer in Barcelona history.
The only record that now stands between Messi and undisputed legendary status at FC Barcelona is Cesar Rodriguez's mark of 235 goals in 351 games.
Interestingly enough, Messi is only 24 years old, and his career, assuming no unfortunate long-term injuries, is not even half done. As sporting director Andoni Zubizaretta said recently, his figures are already close to those of a player about to retire. This is reinforced when you compare Messi's scoring statistics with the men he is about to eclipse.
Ladislao Kubala reached his mark of 194 goals after a decade of first-team football at the club. Cesar Rodriguez took 12 seasons to reach 235 goals.
Lionel Messi has scored his 194 goals in only six complete seasons as a full member of the first team.
The phenomenal rate at which Messi scores goals means it is more a question of when, rather than if, he will break Cesar Rodriguez's record of 235 goals. While expecting a player to score almost 40 more goals this season is a little fanciful, this is the sort of mark that Messi has shown himself to be more than capable of reaching.
Barcelona are yet to play 33 league games. Add to this their Champions League, Spanish Cup and World Club Cup campaigns, and Messi has ample chances to break this record this season itself.
I'll leave the predictions to our readers; when do you think Lionel Messi will break the 235-goal mark for Barcelona? Will he be able to achieve this milestone before this season is out? Will he have to wait until the next season, or even the one after it? Or, will he leave the club before he manages to reach this record?