Lionel Messi was on fire as Barcelona put Borussia Dortmund to the sword with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday night.
Ernesto Valverde needed him at his best at Camp Nou, the goalless draw with Slavia Prague last time out meaning the Catalans’ progress to the Champions League knockout stages was not yet certain.
The Argentine did not disappoint, taking just over half an hour to notch up a goal for himself and an assist for Luis Suarez.
Then, with 20 minutes left of the second half, he did what nobody expected him to do and passed to Antoine Griezmann at the end of a fine individual run as the Frenchman made it 3-0. Jadon Sancho hit one in reply.
It was an evening of added significance for Messi, as he marked his 700th career game.
- Messi's smartest skills without even touching the ball
- Barcelona's 17 youngest ever goalscorers since 2000
- Spanish press claim Messi will win Ballon d'Or 2019
The forward made his debut for the Blaugrana all the way back in November 2003 and has barely stopped mesmerising since.
What better way to mark the milestone than by breaking even more records.
The 32-year-old became the first ever player to score against 34 different opponents in Europe's elite competition, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul.
The Barcelona star's record is particularly remarkable at home, where has had a direct hand in 47 Champions League goals in 34 games - that's a tally of 34 goals and 13 assists.
To mark his 700th game, we've also decided to breakdown his overall, eye-watering career stats, which are now as follows:
- 700 games
- 613 goals
- 237 assists
- 40 hat-tricks
- 125 braces
- 4 goals on 5 separate occasions
- 10 La Liga titles
- 7 Copa del Reys
- 4 Champions Leagues
- 8 Spanish Super Cups
- 3 Club World Cups
- 3 UEFA Super Cups
Of course, he has also won five Ballon d’Ors - or soon to be six, if reports in the Spanish media are to be believed - it's claimed the 2019 winner has already been informed ahead of the ceremony on December 2 and that he'll be picking up a record sixth trophy.
The only real dampener against Dortmund was his yellow card for diving, an incident for which he could justifiably feel hard-done-by - and Messi might also be irked that he only hit the crossbar with one of his expert free-kicks.
Ahead of his landmark game, there had been talk of Barca dropping into the Europa League.
That may sound laughable - indeed it hasn't happened since 2004, a year before Messi was in the first team - but it could have transpired had Inter won and the Spanish champions had lost.
With him on the pitch, there was never any doubt. As he reaches 700 games, savour every single one he has left.News Now - Sport News