After his sixth Ballon d'Or, six challenges ahead for Messi
The 32-year-old Argentine made history by scooping a world record sixth Ballon d'Or at the France Football event in Paris.
Despite his award acceptance speech alluding to his days as a top flight footballer nearing their end, Sunday's performance for Barcelona against Atlético Madrid was proof that there is still plenty left for the Rosario born to offer. As the player enters the twilight of his playing career, there is still some unfinished business for the striker to accomplish.
1) League title wins
Legendary Real Madrid player Paco Gento secured 12 LaLiga titles with his time at Real Madrid (1953-1971) and to date Messi has bagged an impressive ten domestic league hauls in the Barça shirt. At present the Catalan side are joint top of the Spanish league with both teams tied on 31 points with 14 games played. December 18th's El Clásico will be key in securing an advantage at the summit for the great rivals of the Spanish game.
2) Top Scorer
Messi holds six 'Pichici' (top scorer) awards as top scorer in LaLiga and last year drew level with Athletic Bilbao legend Telmo Zarra. The start of the current season saw Messi hampered with injury and the Argentine currently trails top marksman Karim Benzema (10 goals) by just one strike.
3) Pelé record
Edson Arantes do Nascimento aka Pelé bagged 643 goals in the famous white shirt of Brazilian side Santos between 1956 and 1974. At the time few conceived that this record would be threatened, but the Argentine forward is in a good position to overthrow "O Rei". With his late winner at the Metropolitano on Sunday, Messi has now bagged 614 goals for FC Barcelona and is just 29 short of drawing level with the Brazilian legend.
4) Appearances in the 'azul-grana' shirt
Scoring goals is a by-product of playing games and the Rosario born has now pulled on the famous navy and claret colours on 701 occasions for Barça and has his sights firmly set on the club record, currently held by Xavi Hernández with 767 official appearances for the Catalan side.
5) Champions League glory as captain
Lionel Messi has four Champions League winners medals in trophy cabinet but one of the outstanding dreams for the 32-year-old is to emulate the likes Puyol or Xavi and secure his fifth Champions League trophy as club captain.
6) Argentina in Qatar
Despite winning the FIFA U-20 World Cup and an Olympic gold with Argentina at the 2008 Beijing games, the World Cup has always eluded Messi with a defeat in the 2014 Rio final being the closest call for the striker. Messi now has 2020 Copa America glory and also a final tilt at the 'big one', the 2022 FIFA World Cup as an opportunity to dispel suggestions that Messi is unable to replicate his form for Barcelona in the sky blue and white stripes of Argentina.
There are plenty of chapters in the Lionel Messi annals of football yet to be written !
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