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Sublime Messi shatters record

Sublime Messi shatters record
The Barca and Argentina captain surpassed the record of 71 he jointly held with former Real Madrid and Schalke 04 striker Raul when he put his side 2-0 ahead shortly before halftime.

The 27-year-old added two more goals in the second half to complete his 31st career treble, his fifth in Europe’s elite club competition and the first in which he has scored all three with his less-favoured right foot. ‘I am pleased to have achieved such a nice record in such a nice and important competition but the really important thing is the three points,’ Messi said in a television interview.

His achievement is the latest milestone in a stellar career and comes three days after he broke the six decades-old La Liga scoring record with a hat-trick in Barca’s 5-1 home win over Sevilla. Messi overhauled former Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra’s tally of 251 goals, set in 1955, and has 253 in 289 league games for the Catalan club he joined as a 13-year-old. Messi’s 74 Champions League goals came in 91 appearances, while Raul needed 142 for Real and Schalke 04 for his 71.

Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who ended Messi’s four-year run as World Player of the Year in 2013 with his second award, has scored 70 Champions League goals in 107 matches. The Portugal captain will try to close the gap when Real play at FC Basel in Champions League Group B on Wednesday.

Barca had already qualified for the Champions League last 16 along with group leaders Paris St Germain, who won 3-1 at home to Ajax Amsterdam. Barca need to beat the Ligue 1 side when they meet at the Nou Camp on December 10 to secure top spot.

Record hauls ease damaging year

Just last week Messi was made to recall the moment that could have changed the world’s outlook on his 2014 and enhanced even further the legacy of a player regarded as the best of all-time by various commentators, players and coaches.
Captaining Argentina in their first World Cup final for 24 years, Messi had the sort of half-chance he has made look routine in scoring over 400 career goals to put his country in front two minutes into the second-half, but, on his trusted left foot, pulled his shot inches wide of Manuel Neuer’s far post.
‘If I had scored that goal in the final, they would have said I had a spectacular World Cup,’ Messi told Argentine newspaper Ole. Instead, his election as the best player at the tournament was widely derided, many suggesting the fact the award was sponsored by one of his principal promoters Adidas was a convenient coincidence. For a lesser light the experience could have had a more lasting effect. Yet, less than five months, on Messi has put his legacy back up for debate by breaking two historic records to become the top goal scorer in both the history of La Liga and the Champions League at just 27 years of age.
‘He is a unique and unrepeatable player,’ gushed current Barca boss Luis Enrique. However, the highest praise was lavished by the architect of much of what Messi has achieved at the Catalan club, Pep Guardiola, who turned a diminutive young winger into a goalscoring machine from the false nine role which has revolutionised the game the world over.
‘He has broken a record that everyone thought was unbreakable, a figure which was unreachable, and one which has stood for 60 years. It will take another 600 years before his record is broken,’ said the Bayern Munich boss.
Messi’s close rival Christiano Ronaldo is also galloping through the list of all-time scorers in Spain at an alarming rate with his double against Eibar last Saturday moving him up to ninth, thanks to an unbelievable strike rate of 197 in 176 La Liga games since swapping Manchester for Madrid five years ago.  agencies
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