Perhaps the best thing to do before taking in a list of Messi’s achievements is to remind yourself that the three time Balon d’Or winner is only 25. He scored his 300th and 301st senior goals yesterday as Barcelona steamrollered Rayo Vallecano 5-0, and whilst stats can tell you nothing about the wonderful turn of pace when dribbling he possesses, or the ability to spin on a sixpence whilst traveling at that pace, they can give an indication of why he is already considered to be amongst the best footballers of all time.
This calendar Messi has 73 goals for club and country. In 1972 Gerd Muller scored 85, in 1958 Pele scored 75. Those are the only two occasions when someone has scored more. Messi still has plenty of time to set the outright record, and looking at his frightening consistency for Barcelona, and now increasingly Argentina, it’s easy to see him comfortably surpassing Muller’s amount. Since the start of last season Messi has picked up 104 goals for club and country in 88 games.
Messi has been scoring at more than a goal a game for his past 200 official matches. Only Cristiano Ronaldo can live with the diminutive Argentinian, having netted 162 goals in 157 appearances for Real Madrid. However even Ronaldo, scoring at his current rate, looks in danger of being overhauled. The Portuguese has scored 285 goals in 480 club matches before Real Madrid’s match this weekend, Messi now has 270 goals in 343 matches for Barcelona.
Quite simply no-one can live with Lionel Messi. He is playing at the head of a great Barcelona side, but even there he puts others into the shade. David Villa is Spain’s all-time top goal scorer, Xavi and Iniesta have become the template for much of the modern passing game, Messi is simply the best footballer in the world.
He’s only 25.
For an a consummate breakdown of Messi’s incredible stats, I heartily recommend following @MessiStats on twitter.
image: © jeroen bennink