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Five facts which show why Lionel Messi could be the greatest ever

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Monday night saw Lionel Messi receive yet another Ballon d'Or award, his fifth in total, cementing himself in footballing folklore as possibly the greatest player to grace the game.

The Barcelona forward and his rival for greatness, Cristiano Ronaldo, have changed the parameters and expectations of the game forever, shattering records for fun and making everyone else look pretty average in retrospect.

The Argentine superstar has almost revolutionised the game with his eye-catching style of play and remarkable statistics. Here are five of those statistics which are some of his greatest achievements.

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1. 91 goals in a calendar year (for club & country)

Arguably, this was the most ridiculous record ever set by the Barcelona man. Usurping the legendary Gerd Muller, who scored a measly 85, Messi took 2012 by storm with his goal scoring prowess.

Averaging a goal every four days is some feat, especially considering there is a summer break to contend with.

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73 of the goals came competitively for Barcelona in what was arguably the most outstanding season by a single player in the history of the modern game. A record that will not be touched for some time.

2. 50 goals in a single La Liga season (2011/12)

In Premier League terms, recording 30 strikes for a single campaign is seen to be an outstanding achievement and rightly so.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-VALLADOLID-BARCELONA

However, once again Barcelona's talisman almost shattered reality by scoring a whole half century of goals in just 38 matches. More goals than games is a statistic highly regarded throughout the game and to sustain it at such a level for an entire campaign is nothing short of remarkable.

Ronaldo himself has recorded 48 goals in a single La Liga campaign but it is Messi's ridiculous tally which will live long in the memory.

3. Most assists in La Liga history (115)

Now it would have been easy to include several records about Messi's goal scoring achievements, but it is just as important to mention his tally of assists.

Recently ousting former Barcelona and Real Madrid superstar Luis Figo from the record books, this accolade adds further confirmation to his reputation as the complete footballer.

He's possibly the world's finest playmaker and it could be a position we see him play more in the latter stages of his career - which means this record will only further increase.

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - La Liga

4. 10 or more goals against 19 different teams

Football players often have that one team they regularly find the back of the net against. Didier Drogba's exploits against Arsenal is possibly the finest Premier League example of this fact.

However, for Messi, there is not just simply one team who he thrives scoring against. Nope, nearly 20 teams have been on the end of ten or more strikes courtesy of the Argentine during his illustrious career.

Atletico Madrid and Sevilla have endured the most torment at his hands, conceding 22 goals apiece. No team is safe.

Barcelona v Sevilla FC - UEFA Super Cup

5. 174 goals have come away from home

Some players thrive on playing alongside their home crowd. Hostile Spanish and European atmospheres can often limit a players talents but for Messi, this is not the case.

A hefty percentage of his goals for Barcelona have been recorded away from the Camp Nou, showing that he scores important goals when the going gets tough.

A versatility to adapt to any footballing surrounding is just another trait which accompanies the Argentine forward and is one that he is sure to continue for the foreseeable future. And just for the record, 12 of these strikes have come at the Bernabeu - even the best can't nullify him on their own turf.

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Topics:
La Liga
Football
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
Ballon d'Or

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