Football Lionel Messi ties the legendary Pele’s goal-scoring record
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Lionel Messi ties the legendary Pele’s goal-scoring record

Goal machine Lionel Messi has hit a fresh milestone in a lustrous career. Photo: ABC
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Lionel Messi has another individual scoring milestone but he sure doesn’t have a team that looks like a champion.

Messi equalled Pele’s all-time club scoring tally on Saturday in a 2-2 draw with Valencia at the Camp Nou.

His 643rd career goal for Barcelona since his 2004 debut matched Pele’s tally for Santos from 1957-74. Messi is Barcelona and the Spanish league’s record goal scorer.

In January 2018, he became the most prolific scorer among Europe’s top leagues when he reached 366 league goals, surpassing Gerd Mueller’s Bundesliga mark of 365.

Brazil’s incredible Pele in his high-flying heyday. Photo: AP

Messi had already surpassed Mueller’s single-year goal mark by scoring 86 times in 2012.

Pele congratulated the Argentina forward on social media: “Like you, I know what it’s like to love wearing the same shirt every day. Like you, I know that there is nothing better than the place we feel at home.

“Congratulations on your historic record, Lionel. But above all, congratulations on your beautiful career at Barcelona.

“Stories like ours, of loving the same club for so long, unfortunately will be increasingly rare in football.”

Pele’s comments went right to the heart of Messi’s uncertain situation at Barca, with the Argentine yet to recant on his announcement last summer that he wanted to leave the club.

His contract expires in June and he will be free to negotiate with other clubs come January.

The latest setback by Barcelona left Ronald Koeman’s team in fifth place and eight points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid, who beat Elche 3-1 with a double from Luis Suarez.

-AAP