It is an unquestionable fact at this point in his career that Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is an all-time great of the beautiful game.
However, debates continue to rage on about whether the mercurial Argentine is already, or will ever become, the greatest ever player to grace the pitch.
While these questions continue to be the source of many heated confrontations, the reserved ace continues to fuel these arguments by treating record breaking as a part-time hobby.
The last few seasons have seen Messi break just about every club scoring record, and while there are mainly arbitrary records left for the mesmerising forward to break, there are still a few meaningful records that he could yet break next season that would perhaps go some way towards cementing his legacy in the game.
After having set the season league scoring record at 50 two seasons ago, secured the records of most hat-tricks in a season and most home and away goals in a season, among many other records, the only meaningful scoring record left for Messi to break in the league is to become the highest all-time scorer, a record which is currently held by the legendary Basque forward Telmo Zarra, with 251 goals.
Messi, who currently sits seventh on the all-time scorer table with 215 league goals, can unseat the legendary Athletic Bilboa man by scoring 37 league goals next term. Seeing as Messi scored 50 league goals two seasons ago, and 46 in last season’s campaign in only 32 rounds, it would be foolish to bet against Messi breaking a record which would make him at the very least, statistically the best striker in La Liga history.
In the Champions League, Messi is the only player to have scored in 20 different cities. He has the highest goal tally in a single Champions League campaign in the modern era (14), and the highest goal-tally in a single Champions League game (5).
He has a record four consecutive Champions League Golden Boots, and sits only behind Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez in the Champions League all-time scoring charts with 59 goals.
Messi is already touted as the Champions League’s greatest player ever, but with 13 goals in the next Champions League campaign, Messi would usurp Raul’s 71 goals, and cement his status as the UCL’s greatest player ever.
If Messi manages to break the all-time league scoring record in next season’s campaign, he would also have the added pleasure of officially becoming Barcelona’s highest all-time scorer (friendlies included), a record Paulinho Alcantara holds over Messi, who is 32 goals shy of Paulinho’s 369 goals for Barcelona.
Ultimately, next season promises to be an important one in Messi’s career, and should he break all three records above, a solid performance in Brazil, at the World Cup could very well see him being recognised as the greatest football player ever.
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