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Barcelona: Lionel Messi closes in on Pelé's historic haul

Lionel Messi's free-kick against Sevilla on Sunday has left the Barcelona star just 39 goals off Pelé's total of 643 for Santos.

Barcelona: Lionel Messi closes in on Pelé's historic haul
JOSEP LAGO AFP

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is on course to destroy a long-standing record that had once been considered unbreakable: the 643 goals scored by Edson Arantes do Nascimiento, better known as Pelé, in his 18 years at Brazilian club Santos.

Messi now within 39 goals of Pelé's Santos total

Until Messi's arrival on the scene, no player had seriously threatened to surpass the three-time World Cup winner's Santos haul, amassed between 1956 and 1974. Only Gerd Müller, who hit 565 goals for Bayern Munich from 1964 to 1979, had come anywhere near the figure.

However, the Argentine's strike against Sevilla on Sunday - his first of the season - left him on 604 career goals for Barça, just 39 behind Pelé.

Messi well-placed to break Pelé mark this season

Given that he has scored over 40 times for the Blaugrana in each of the last 10 campaigns, Messi appears well-placed to overtake the Brazilian this term.

In his 691 Barça appearances since making his debut in 2004, Messi has netted 420 goals in LaLiga, 112 in the Champions League, 51 in the Copa del Rey, 13 in the Spanish Super Cup, five in the Club World Cup and three in the UEFA Super Cup.