Lionel Messi scored his 500th goal for Barcelona during last weekend’s 2-1 win over Sevilla.
The Argentina international has produced so many brilliant individual performances during his 592 appearances - or 469, not including friendlies - for the Catalan giants, but Sunday’s display at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán should rank among his best. He was exceptional.
Days after that performance and Barça have released footage of a goal that many fans probably haven’t seen before.
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We’ve all seen the footage of Messi’s first official goal for Barcelona against Albacete back on 1 May 2005.
Ronaldinho scooped the ball up to his young teammate, who brilliantly beat the Albacete goalkeeper with an exquisite lob. Messi was then hoisted into the air by Ronaldinho, almost as if he were presenting the Camp Nou with their future king.
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Video: Rare footage of Messi's first Barcelona goal
But just over a year earlier, Messi scored his first goal for the club in a friendly against a team called Palamós.
And here’s the video of that goal…
Barcelona’s description of the goal is as follows…
“Although Leo Messi’s first goal for FC Barcelona is traditionally said to be the one against Albacete on 1 May 2005, it could be argued that his first was actually the one on Tuesday 20 July 2004 against Catalan club Palamós.
“It happened in an unofficial preseason fixture, and the side coached by Frank Rijkaard and led on the field by Ronaldinho won 6-0 thanks to a brace from current Barça B manager Gerard López, and others from Iniesta, Luis García, Verdú and a very young Argentinian.
“Messi’s was the fourth of the game, scored after 74 minutes. Wearing number 20 on his back, he played the second 45 minutes as centre forward, and his maiden goal game after Ludovic Giuly had won the ball. Messi marked his debut by rounding two defenders before placing the ball brilliantly.”
Messi can be seen wearing No. 20
Few Barcelona fans will be aware that Messi has previously represented the club wearing a number other than 30, 19 or 10.
Messi scored his goal against Albacete wearing No. 30, but can be seen sporting No. 20 in the recently-released video.
It’s a typical Messi goal - beating a defender with consummate ease, dribbling towards goal and producing a composed finish at the end of the move - and provided a small glimpse of what was to come.
Messi: The best of all time?
However, nobody could ever have imagined how successful Messi’s career would turn out to be.
The 29-year-old, who has won the Ballon d’Or award for a record five times, is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time.
Is Lionel Messi the best player ever? Have your say by leaving a comment below.