Lionel Messi has become the latest player to be inducted into the exclusive 700-goal club when he scored a ‘Panenka’ penalty in the La Liga match against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
The goal was Messi’s 630th goal in his 724th appearance for the club.
Unusually for a player of his powers, Messi had appeared to be unduly burdened by the looming milestone, snatching at chances and seemingly bereft of his sure touch in front of goal.
He was undergoing a mini-drought and had not scored in three matches going into the match against Atletico Madrid at the Nou Camp.
But when he was presented with the opportunity to reach his milestone from the spot, the Argentine maestro did so with aplomb, scoring with an exquisite chip as Jan Oblak dived the wrong way.
The goal put Barcelona 2-1 up in their crunch game at the top of the table but Atletico rallied back to level the match and leave Messi with a bittersweet feeling as their title challenge faltered once again.
When the disappointment of the dropped points receded, the 33-year-old star can rightly look back at the rare feat he achieved on Tuesday with plenty of pride.
MESSI JOINS EXCLUSIVE 700-GOAL CLUB
Messi’s 700th career goal – coming just over 14 months after netting for the 600th time for Barcelona – means he joins a select group.
According to data from Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation, the Argentine star is now one of seven players to have reached the 700-goal mark in their career.
Czech-Austrian Josef Bican tops the chart with 805 career goals, followed by Brazil legend Romario, who bagged 772, with his compatriot Pele third on 767.
Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas scored 746 goals, while former Germany striker Gerd Muller rounds out the top five with 735 goals.
Messi’s great modern goalscoring rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the sixth man on the list, having reached 700 career goals with a strike for Portugal in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Ukraine in October last year.
The Portuguese great has added a further 26 goals to his tally since then including a thunderbolt against Genoa on Tuesday for his 24th goal in Serie A.
Players In Club 700+ Goals Club
|Player||Nationality||Major clubs||Goals||Years scored between|
|Josef Bican||Czech-Austrian||Rapid Vienna, Slavia Prague||805||1931-1955|
|Romario||Brazilian||Vasco da Gama, PSV, Barcelona,||772||1985-2007|
|Pele||Brazilian||Santos, New York Cosmos||767||1957-1977|
|Ferenc Puskas||Hungarian||Budapest Honvéd, Real Madrid||746||1943-1966|
|Gerd Muller||German||Bayern Munich||735||1962-1981|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Portuguese||Sporting CP, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Juventus||725||2002-present|
MESSI’S ROUTE TO 700 GOALS
Messi has maintained an incredible consistency that has seen him score more than 40 goals for club and country in each of the past 11 calendar years and more than 50 in nine of the past 10.
So far in 2020, after a three-month disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he has 11 to his name.
Messi’s Goals By Calendar Year
Messi has faced 40 teams in La Liga during his career and has only failed to score against three of them – Xerez, Real Murcia and Cadiz.
Teams To Have Conceded 20 Or More Messi Goals
How Messi Scored 700 Goals
Being predominantly left-footed, Messi has scored the bulk of his goals – 582 – from his dominant foot. He has scored 92 from his right foot.
The Argentine is not going to win any heights contest and has scored only 24 goals with his head although one was a memorable header against Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final.
A set-piece specialist, Messi has also netted 52 direct free-kicks and is also fatal from closer range having scored 90 penalties.
580 of his 700 goals were scored in the box, with 120 coming from outside the penalty area.