Arguably the greatest footballer of the modern era, Lionel Messi has carved out a niche for himself. There are very few feats in football that has been untouched by the Argentine great. He had captivated Barcelona fans for over 15 years now with his unmatched skills on the pitch — be it his electric pace, otherworldly dribble, or his numerous goalscoring records. Messi has recorded over 1000 combined goals and assists under his name. He is also the owner of six Ballon d’Or and six golden shoes amongst a plethora of other honours.
Messi has won record 34 titles with Barcelona, including 10 La Liga, 4 UEFA Champions League, 7 Copa del Rey, 3 Club World Cups among others.From his unmatched 91 goals in 2012 to his first hat-trick against bitter rival Real Madrid; here are just 5 iconic moments from Lionel Messi’s career:
91 goals in 2012
In the year 2012, Messi did the impossible as he went past German great Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record for the most number of goals in a single calendar year – 85. Messi achieved the feat in an away game against Real Betis. He went on to score 91 goals in that year.Messi scored 59 goals in La Liga, 13 Champions League, 5 in Copa del Rey, 2 in the Supercopa and 12 for Argentina.
Record sixth Ballon d’Or in 2019
In the year 2019, Messi won his record sixth Ballon d’Or by beating his long time rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk. The prestigious trophy rounded off an almost perfect year for Messi. He won La Liga, the European Golden Shoe and was the leading goal scorer in the Champions League (12) among other achievements.
Messi’s first hat-trick in El Clásico
In 2007, Messi announced his arrival on the big stage by netting a breathtaking hat-trick against Barcelona’s arch-rivals Real Madrid in a La Liga game. It was also Messi’s first-ever hat-trick.
Mesmerising solo effort against Getafe
In 2006-07 season, Barcelona took on Getafe in Copa Del Rey and the 19-year-old Argentine in that match wriggled past five players to slot home from a very tight angle. The goal was almost a carbon copy of the famous Diego Maradona goal that he scored against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
4 goals against Arsenal
In 2010, Messi produced one of the most dominating performances of his career as he netted all four goals for Barcelona in their thumping 4-1 win over Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the Champions League.Following his brilliant display, Messi earned a rare ‘perfect 10’ from the French football experts L’Equipe.
Messi’s iconic Bernabeu Celebration
This was one of the iconic moments in the history of football. In a crunch El Clasico match, Lionel Messi silenced a raucous Santiago Bernabeu by scoring a stoppage time winner and put Barcelona on the top of the table and whip off his No 10 shirt and held it aloft to the away support. Marcelo fell to the turf, Cristiano Ronaldo raged, Madrid fans held their heads in hands as Messi stood still as a statue.
✅ A dramatic late winner.✅ An iconic celebration. #OnThisDay in 2017, Messi was decisive in #ElClasico at the Santiago Bernabeu! 💙🌟❤️#LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/b6UFmC7pGt— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) April 23, 2021
Breaking Pele’s record
Messi further cemented his spot as an all-time great last year after he went past Brazilian legends Pele’s record for the most goals scored for a single club. Messi achieved this incredible feat in his 749th appearance for Barcelona against Real Valladolid. Pele has netted 643 goals Santos between 1956 and 1974.
At present, Messi has scored 672 goals for the Spanish powerhouse in 778 appearances.