Barcelona’s Lionel Messi will be remembered as one of the greatest sportspeople in history.
His achievements in the beautiful game have been so remarkable that he could hang up his boots tomorrow and it wouldn’t taken the sheen away from what has been a stunning career.
Therefore, every extra game and season we get to see Messi take to the pitch, it feels like a treat and he’s simply sprinkling as many cherries on top of his career as possible.
It’s sometimes easy to take Messi for granted and it was similarly simple to forget that he was 32 years old when he romped his way to a sixth Ballon d’Or trophy last year.
Many top footballers find themselves on a steady slide during their late twenties, but Messi was bagging 51 goals from just 50 matches to crown himself the top scorer in European football.
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Messi’s Granada winner
Now, Quique Setien will become the latest Barcelona manager to profit from their star player and he already got a taste of what’s to come during his first game in the Blaugrana’s dugout.
Opening up with a 1-0 home win over Granada didn’t exactly have pulses racing, but it was the manner in which Barcelona bagged the winner on 76 minutes that will live long in the memory.
There was a real throwback to the ‘tiki-taka’ days of Pep Guardiola with the combination play between Antoine Griezmann and Arturo Vidal, before you-know-who provided the finishing touch.
Messi’s latest incredible record
And as the case seems to be with almost every goal of Messi’s, it saw him produce another superb record that one of the club’s official accounts couldn’t help tweeting out.
According to Barcelona’s Turkish page, Messi’s goal at the weekend means that he has now scored exactly 500 times in his last 500 games for the Catalans.
If that isn’t satisfying, we don’t know what is.
Messi has also chipped in with 200 assists during the same time period, while his record of 358 wins, 89 draws and 53 defeats hammers home just how successful Barca have been with him.
To average a goal every game over half a thousand matches is simply staggering and Messi is one of very few footballers in history, if any, who could possibly have managed it.
Sadly, though, there won’t be another 500 matches for Messi at Camp Nou, unless he proves himself to be truly alien with some sort of youth elixir.
You’d like to think that Barca will extend his contract beyond the current terminus of 2021, but it would be naive to ignore the fact that Messi’s playing days are gradually winding down.
So, let this serve as the 500th reason to be grateful for the fact we’ve all had the pleasure of watching Messi achieve things that the history books will never do justice.