Barcelona sensation Lionel Messi last night became the Catalan club’s all-time leading goal scorer, scoring a hat-trick in the 5-3 win over Granada.
The Argentine took his tally to 234 in front of an ecstatic Nou Camp crowd, on a night where the Barcelona team wore t-shirts in support of Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba.
Messi has now overtaken previous record holder Cesar Rodriguez, who scored 232 goals for the Blaugranas – a record that has stood since the 1950s.
Rodriguez was originally thought to have scored 235 times but research conducted by Barcelona's Centre of Documentation and Studies and La Vanguardia newspaper found the total was actually three fewer than first thought.
Barca manager Pep Guardiola was understandably full of praise for a player he regards as a phenomenon in the sport, comparing his dominance of football to the way Michael Jordan dominated basketball.
“We have to congratulate Messi, he has scored so many goals and is only 24,” he is quoted as saying by the BBC.
“He does not just score ordinary goals but great goals and we hope he gets lots more for us, we can compare him perhaps the Michael Jordan of football.”
His team-mates are no less complimentary, with goalkeeper Victor Valdez claiming Messi is becoming the stand-out footballing figure of our generation.
“Messi is defining an era. He is the best,” said the Barcelona number one.
It has been an outstanding season so far for the 24-year-old with regards to goals, as he has now scored 54 goals in all competitions and 34 in 27 La Liga appearances.
Another Barcelona legend, Paulino Alcantara, has a record of 369 goals in 357 games, but many of these were scored before the formation of La Liga and only 137 of his strikes were recorded in official matches.