x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Goal machine Lionel Messi will run out of records to break

At 25 he is already on the verge of scoring 300 career goals and there is little stopping the Argentine great, writes Andy Mitten.

Even as Lionel Messi has scored a lot of goals in his career, the Argentine has also been equally adept as a creator. David Ramos / Getty Images
Even as Lionel Messi has scored a lot of goals in his career, the Argentine has also been equally adept as a creator. David Ramos / Getty Images

Lionel Messi will score the 300th goal of his professional career on Saturday night in Madrid when Barcelona play Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish Primera Liga.

Such a bold statement may seem risky – Wayne Rooney waited two months into this season to score his 200th club career goal last weekend – but Messi is more predictable, more prolific.

He averages more than a goal a game and bagged a hat-trick last weekend in La Coruna to overtake Radamel Falcao and Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of Spain's goal-scoring chart. It is news when he does not score.

The superlatives have been exhausted for Messi, yet he continues to break records thanks to his talent, staggering consistency and propensity to avoid injury.

That he does defies logic, for no player is on the receiving end of so many fouls and attempted fouls as Messi. He rides most of the impudent challenges as if they are a minor irritant. He is on 11 league goals from eight games so far this season and has two more in the Champions League.

He has got more for Argentina – something even his compatriots at Real Madrid such as Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria celebrated as they flew back from Buenos Aires last week (after Messi goals in Argentina's World Cup qualifier wins against Uruguay and Chile) on a private jet paid for jointly by Barca and Madrid.

The World Cup is the only trophy Messi is yet to win, the one he dreams about.

At club level, Messi has achieved everything. At just 25, he is already the Catalans' all-time leading scorer with 268 goals in all competitions, having surpassed Cesar Rodriguez's 232 goal record which had stood for 57 years until March 2012.

If he continues at his current rate, he is scheduled to pass Cesar's 190 league goals by December. If he carries on as he is, there are going to be no more goal-scoring records for him to break by the time he is 30, yet Messi is about more than goals.

He is a creator too – and not just of his own goals which he often starts and finishes from nothing.

He has played a part in 85 of the 126 goals scored by Barcelona in 2012: 60 goals, 25 assists.

The goals will keep coming, the records will keep being broken by one of the greatest footballer the world has ever seen.

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