In spite of Barcelona’s poor form continuing, Lionel Messi reached a special milestone against Valencia on Saturday.
The Blaugrana were held to a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou, surrendering the lead with 20 minutes to go.
The Argentine’s penalty was initially saved, but he equalised for the hosts on the stroke of half-time, scrambling in a header after Jordi Alba had seen his shot from the rebound blocked.
It wasn’t one of Messi’s best, but it was his 450th La Liga goal – and crucially, his 643rd for Barcelona.
You can see his goal below:
That means he has equalled the record Pele set for goals scored for a single club during his time at Santos.
The Brazilian icon spent nearly two decades, the best part of his career, in Vila Belmiro.
And Pele, now 80, paid a touching tribute to Messi after he matched his tally. The World Cup winner wrote on Instagram:
“When your heart overflows with love, it is difficult to change your path. Like you, I know what it’s like to love wearing the same shirt every day. Like you, I know that there is nothing better than the place we feel at home.
“Congratulations on your historic record, Lionel. But above all, congratulations on your beautiful career in @fcbarcelona. Stories like ours, of loving the same club for so long, unfortunately will be increasingly rare in football. I admire you very much,@leomessi.”
It’s a beautiful message from Pele, but we’re not sure how much the six-time Ballon d’Or winner ‘loves’ wearing the Barcelona shirt right now.
The question, of course, is how much longer the Barcelona superstar will be a one-club man.
Speculation is ramping up that the forward will leave Catalonia when his contract expires in the summer. It was only the threat of a protracted legal saga that kept him there at the end of last season.
Ronald Koeman’s side are now fifth in La Liga, eight points off the top of the table.