X

Lionel Messi Breaks La Liga's All-Time Goal-Scoring Record

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2014

Getty Images

Lionel Messi, Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer, is now La Liga's most prolific marksman ever. The Argentinian hero notched a hat-trick in Barca's 5-1 win against Sevilla to pass Telmo Zarra.

Barcelona tweeted following Messi's achievement:

FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 @FCBarcelona

Messi surpasses Zarra! http://t.co/PpAUyX0DU6

Zarra posted an impressive tally of 251 during his 18-year career between 1939-57, as reported by Adam Shergold of the Daily Mail, but it has taken Messi, 27, less than a decade to blitz through this mark.

Alongside Zarra, Messi remains above the likes of Hugo Sanchez, Raul, Alfredo Di Stefano and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo in the La Liga scoring ranks. A plethora of records have already been broken by the iconic star, and more are on the horizon.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 24:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates scoring  his team's opening goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Elche FC at Camp Nou stadium on August 24, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Ima
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Messi is currently three hat-tricks behind La Liga leaders Ronaldo and Zarra, who remain joint top in the domestic division at an incredible 22 apiece. Messi has also tied Raul for the most goals in Champions League history.

In 2012, he set the record for most goals scored in a single European league season with 50, as reported by Barcelona's official website. He netted the most goals in a calendar year (86), beating Gerd Muller's 40-year record during 2012. Let's not forget he also scored in 19 consecutive league matches and is a four-time winner of the Ballon d'Or trophy.

Despite being widely criticised for his performances last season, Messi still managed to notch 28 goals in 31 La Liga appearances for the Blaugrana, per WhoScored.com. He is perhaps one of two players in the world who would be considered off colour with such numbers.

Messi was just 17 years, 10 months and seven days old when he scored his first La Liga goal against Albacete in 2005, and in typical fashion, it arrived with a lobbed finish after Ronaldinho chipped him through the opposition's defence.

Fans will no doubt have their own favourite Messi goals to discuss, but his recent header in the 6-0 win over Granada should be counted among the best. Xavi's exquisite pass is matched by Dani Alves' brilliant volley into the box. He doesn't score many with his head, but Messi was there to apply the finish and grab what was his 400th career goal.

After finishing the game with 401, Messi acknowledged his achievements have far exceeded his expectations. "I never imagined I could achieve anything like this in my career," he wrote on Facebook, per Shergold. "I'll continue working hard to reach more targets."

He has reached the next target already, further cementing his place as one of sports' greatest athletes. His achievements transcend the barrier of football and place him among the likes of Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali.

It is perhaps only Pele, Diego Maradona and a certain Ronaldo who sit alongside him on the hallowed turf. Former Barcelona striker and England legend Gary Lineker is among the many to have hailed the "magical things" Messi has done over the years.

We've seen long-rangers, darting runs, free-kicks and penalties. Perfect team goals and unstoppable individual strikes. The result, quite sadly for Messi's opposition, has so often resulted in an outpouring of love from the Barcelona support, something we are destined to see many more times over the years.

Future La Liga goalscorers are likely to balk at this record once Messi's career is complete. Considering he still has plenty of seasons ahead of him and has shown no signs of wanting to exit the Spanish division, it's likely the maestro's final tally will stand the test of time.  

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.