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Lionel Messi equals La Liga scoring record

Lionel Messi matched a 59-year-old record with his 251st La Liga goal to equal Telmo Zarra's mark as the leading goalscorer in the history of the Spanish top flight.

Lionel Messi equals La Liga scoring record
Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

The Argentine curled home a trademark free-kick to reach the mark in just his 289th La Liga appearance and give Barcelona the lead against Sevilla.

Legendary Basque striker Zarra scored his 251 goals for Athletic Bilbao during a 15-year career from 1940 to 1955.

Messi's strike ended an uncharacteristically long three-game goal drought in league action as Barca slipped to defeats against Real Madrid and Celta Vigo and had to come from behind to beat Almeria 2-1 before the recent international break.

However, in between times, he had also equalled Real Madrid legend Raul's all-time record mark of 71 Champions League goals with a double against Ajax earlier this month.

Barca boss Luis Enrique hailed the 27-year-old as "the best player I have seen in my life" after he hit that landmark in Amsterdam.

Messi recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of his debut with the Catalan giants, a period which has seen him win 21 trophies and crowned World Player of the Year four times.

However, he cast some doubt on his future with the club this week when he refused to rule out a move away from the Catalan capital before the end of his career.

"Football is full of unexpected twists and turns," he told Argentinean newspaper Ole.

"It is true that I said I would like to stay there forever, but sometimes not everything turns out the way you want."

Messi's Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who is just one shy of he and Raul in Champions League goals, lies ninth on the all time La Liga list with two goals in Real's 4-0 win over Eibar on Saturday took him to 197 goals in just 177 games.

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FOOTBALL

‘Diego is eternal’: Messi pays tribute to Maradona

Lionel Messi paid tribute to Diego Maradona on Wednesday by calling him "eternal" after his fellow Argentine died of a heart attack.

'Diego is eternal': Messi pays tribute to Maradona
Diego Maradona hugs Lionel Messi after 2010 World Cup quarter final Argentina vs Germany. Photo: AFP

“A very sad day for all Argentines and football,” Messi wrote on Instagram. “He has left us but he will never leave us because Diego is eternal. I will keep all the beautiful moments that I lived with him and would like to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

Messi and Maradona have often been compared in the debate about who was the greatest footballer of all time.

Both players are icons in Argentina and have been likened to each other due to their global status, dribbling style and famous number 10 shirts.    

Maradona was also Messi's coach during his brief time in charge of the national team, which included Argentina being thrashed by Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals.


A banner held up during 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 25, 2014. Photo: AFP

 

Maradona spent two years at Barcelona, where Messi is now captain and the club's all-time top scorer, although Maradona's greatest years were spent with Napoli in Italy.

Asked about Maradona in 2010, Messi said: “Even if I played for a million years, I'd never come close to Maradona. Not that I'd want to anyway. He's the greatest there's ever been.”

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