Goals galore for Messi
MADRID: Just last week Lionel Messi,
was made to recall the moment that could have changed the world’s outlook on his 2014 season and enhanced even further the legacy of a player regarded as the best of all-time by various commentators, players and coaches.
Captaining Argentina in their first World Cup final for 24 years, Messi had the sort of half-chance he has made look routine in scoring over 400 career goals to put his country in front two minutes into the second-half, but, on his trusted left foot, pulled his shot inches wide of Manuel Neuer’s far post.
“If I had scored that goal in the final, they would have said I had a spectacular World Cup,” Messi told Argentine newspaper
Instead, his election as the best player at the tournament was widely derided, many suggesting the fact the award was sponsored by one of his principal promoters Adidas was a convenient coincidence.
For a lesser light the experience could have had a more lasting effect. Yet, less than five months on, Messi has put his legacy back up for debate by breaking two historic records to become the top goalscorer in both the history of La Liga and the Champions League at just 27 years of age.
His hat-trick in a 5-1 demolition of Sevilla on Saturday saw him pass Telmo Zarra’s 59-year-old record mark to take his tally to 253 goals in 289 games.
Just four days later it was Real Madrid legend Raul who saw his Champions League record of 71 goals overhauled by the Argentine with another hat-trick, this time against APOEL Nicosia, to take him to 74 Champions League goals having played 51 fewer games than the Spaniard.
“He is a unique and unrepeatable player,” gushed Barca boss Luis Enrique.
However, the highest praise was lavished by the architect of much of what Messi has achieved at the Catalan club, Pep Guardiola. “He has broken a record that everyone thought was unbreakable. It will take another 600 years before his record is broken,” said the Bayern Munich boss.
The irony is his Champions League record may not last long. Messi’s claim to be the best ever is always counter-argued by the feats of Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese is just four goals behind Messi’s mark. – Sapa-AFP