Lionel Messi: Santos release statement claiming Barcelona star hasn't beaten Pele's goal record

Pele in action for Santos

Lionel Messi made history last weekend when he scored his 644th Barcelona goal.

The Argentine legend notched in the second half against Valladolid and in the process beat Pele's record for most goals scored by a single club.

Or did he?

There is a lot of controversy about how many goals Pele actually scored for Santos.

He has been credited with 643 goals for the Brazilian club but Pele has claimed in the past that he scored over 1000.

Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona

And now Santos have released a lengthy statement claiming that his tally is indeed over four figures.

"According to some statisticians, Argentine Lionel Messi (Barcelona) became the player with the most goals for the same club, reaching 644 goals for the Catalan club, excluding friendly matches - called by some as official goals," they started.

"Pelé scored 1,091 goals for Santos. In the accounts of the specialized press, the King of Football scored 643 in competitions and the 448 goals scored in matches and friendly competitions were ostracized, as if they had less value than the others."

Santos argue that goals Pele scored against the likes of Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Juventus should be included in his overall tally.

"The 448 goals that today try to disqualify, were scored against the main clubs and teams of the season. América (Mexico) and Colo Colo (Chile) each suffered nine goals from Pelé. Internazionale Milan, one of the main teams in Europe in the 1960s, suffered eight more goals from the King. The list is immense and with participants weight: River Plate, Boca Juniors, Racing, Universidad de Chile, Real Madrid, Juventus, Lazio, Napoli, Benfica and Anderlecht. Barcelona himself, where Messi now plays, was also a victim of Pelé: four goals, scored in four matches.

Pele in action for Santos

"The argument of some analysts is that so many of these 448 goals scored in friendly matches were faced with fragile opponents, such as small teams or regional teams. Even so, the matches were played in official uniforms, with the official rules of the game and with a score sheet.

"We have to remember that clubs could only play friendly matches with the endorsement of regional and national federations, one of the rules imposed by FIFA, the organizer of world football. Taking subjective attributes into account, such as the weakness of opponents, is not ideal for compiling statistical data. The numbers are absolute."

So, if Santos are to be believed, Messi still has to score 448 more goals for Barcelona to surpass Pele's tally.

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