FC Barcelona travel to the Benito Villamarín on Sunday as they return to LaLiga duty, and their mercurial Argentine has more club records on his mind.
Lionel Messi is insatiable and his voracity knows no limits. This Sunday, in just a single bite, he could devour two Barcelona legends: Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta, and both seem more than likely.
Messi targets more records
By just making an appearance at the Benito Villamarín against Real Betis the Argentine will go joint second on the list for the number of official games played for the club. He will join his former teammate Iniesta on 674, only leaving Xavi ahead of him on 767, something that could conceivably be achieved during the 2020/21 season if the mercurial number 10 can maintain fitness till then.
The second personal milestone that can be reached in Seville comes if the current LaLiga champions leave with all three points, clearly assuming that Messi plays in it. That would hand the 31-year old a 477th official victory in the blaugrana colours, one more than Xavi's much-treasured club record.
Cool things... ⛷🥤❄🍨— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) 14 March 2019
🤩 But if you want REALLY cool 👇 pic.twitter.com/cLCLXwHDXW
As well as schieving these new landmarks, another round number in terms of goals is also just around the corner, barring injuries. Messi has scored a total of 588 goals for the Catalan side and therefore needs just 12 more to reach 600. These simply stratospheric numbers can best be understood by considering the player in second place, the legendary striker of the forties and fifties, César Rodríguez, who ended his career with 356 fewer goals than Leo.
Only the great Edson Arantes do Nascimiento, better known as Pelé, scored more that the Barça man, and that is surely now a feasible target. The 643 goals the Brazilian scored with Santos always felt like an unrealistic figure to ever be replicated. That was until Messi started making a mockery of opposition defences, and he's doing it in the more challenging European circuit.