Messi closing in on Barca record

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Lionel Messi continued his ascent towards becoming Barcelona's finest ever player last night, as two strikes against BATE Borisov took him to joint-second in the Catalan club's all-time goalscoring records.

The Argentine forward has now netted 194 times for Barca to draw level with Laszlo Kubala, and now only César Rodríguez - with 235 goals - stands in his way.

"Messi has matched a Barcelona legend and he is still just 24 [years old]," said Barca boss Pep Guardiola after the match.

"I cannot say anything more about him, I can only congratulate him."

Barca, meanwhile, atoned for their opening Group H draw with AC Milan at the Nou Camp by brushing aside BATE with accustomed ease.

The home side did little to prevent their own downfall, but Barca were typically clinical as they comprehensively beat the Belorussian outfit 5-0.


Barca took the lead on 20 minutes after Aleksandr Volodko turned Dani Alves' free-kick into his own net under pressure from Messi.

Just two minutes later, Pedro doubled the advantage for the European champions before Messi added a third prior to the interval following some dreadful handling from Aleksandr Gutor.

The 24-year-old's second strike was far more impressive, as he fired into the top corner from 18 yards, while David Villa completed the rout in the final minute.

"We are happy to have gone top of the group with this win. The triumph arrives following the [AC] Milan draw and this is a heavy result for us," added Guardiola.

"We played against a team who closed the spaces really well and we were lucky to have opened the scoring. I did not expect them to play so tight at the back."


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