Following his brace in Barcelona’s 4-2 win over Valencia on Sunday night, Lionel Messi has now scored 40 goals in all competitions for the eighth successive season.
Although absurd stats involving the Argentine forward are banded around constantly, nobody can dispute that this is a remarkable achievement from arguably the greatest footballer in history.
The last season Messi failed to hit the 40-goal mark was during the 2008-09 campaign. That year he still scored 38 goals in 51 matches and went on to win the first of his five Ballon d’Or awards.
Messi’s first against Valencia came from the penalty spot in the 45th minute. That was his 40th goal of the season.
He then made it 3-2 to Barcelona with a goal seven minutes after the break, before Andre Gomes made sure of the three points shortly before full-time.
Video: What Alves did after Messi scored against him
A brilliant piece of footage has emerged today, captured by a camera behind one of the goals, showing Messi converting his penalty past Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.
After tucking home his spot-kick, Messi celebrates with the rest of his teammates.
He then walks back to his own half, before he catches Alves’s eye and the two players give each other a slap of the hands.
What a great example of sportsmanship.
Alves then does the same thing to Neymar, who assisted two of Barça’s goals on the night.
Watch the footage here...
Alves is a penalty specialist
Fair play to Alves, who is famous for his knack of saving penalties.
Back in September, it was revealed that the Brazil international had saved more than half the penalties he’s faced, including spot-kicks from Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa and Messi.
He failed to thwart Messi on Sunday but still showed the grace and humility to congratulate his opponent.
Luis Enrique and Pique hail Messi
Back to Messi and Luis Enrique was full of praise for his team’s star player following his latest feat.
"It's amazing, he's broken every record and will continue to break more," the outgoing Barcelona head coach was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "How marvellous it is to enjoy Messi, no-one can touch his numbers, it's impossible for anyone to do what he has done apart from him. We'll miss him when he's gone."
Gerard Pique added: ”He is the best of all time and we've gotten used to him doing this.
"He has made it seem normal but we know how difficult it is and when he stops playing it'll be very difficult for anyone to surpass those numbers. We just need to enjoy the years we have left with him."
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