BARCELONA

Messi is now just 17 goals off surpassing Pelé's record

The Brazilian legend, who has been experiencing health issues, still holds the all-time goal scoring record with 643 career goals. Messi is on 626.

Messi is now just 17 goals off surpassing Pelé's record
FRANCK FIFE AFP

Pelé will surely know that Leo Messi is closing in on one of several long-standing records which he still holds - the most goals scored for one club. The Brazilian legend scored 643 goals in 656 appearances during his 19 seasons at Santos - a record which has stood since he left the club to play out his final years in football with New York Cosmos in 1974.

Messi, who fired four goals past Eibar in Saturday's league game at Camp Nou, is now just 17 goals away from breaking Pelé's 46-year-old record. The great Pelé was 33 when left Santos - one year older than Messi is now. The Barça No.10 has scored 626 goals in 715 games - an average of 0.87 goals per game; Messi's figures to date can be broken down as follows: 436 goals in LaLiga, 114 in the Champions League, 53 in the Copa del Rey, 14 in the Spanish Super Cup, 5 in the Club World Cup and 3 in the European Super Cup.

Yesterday, it was the sixth time that Messi has scored four goals for Barcelona in one match and the second time he's done it against Eibar. He has 41 career hat tricks for Barça and is one of a handful of players to have scored five goals in one Champions League match (in the 7-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen in 2011/12).

Messi has scored 4 goals in the same game against 5 clubs

Leo has scored four goals in the same game against: Arsenal (2009/10), Valencia (2011/12), Espanyol (2011/12), Osasuna (2012/13), Eibar (2017/18 and 2019/20).

He is the current top scorer in LaLiga with 18 goals - five more than his nearest rival, Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, who is second on 13. If he manage to maintain pole position until the end of the campaign, he will pick up his seventh Pichichi award, and overtake the player who the award is named after - Athletic Club's legendary striker Telmo Zarra, who ended as the maximum scorer in the Spanish top flight six times during his career - like Messi.

LaLiga's top scorers after Week 25

18 Messi

13 Benzema

11 Luis Suárez

10 Gerard Moreno

10 Lucas Pérez

10 Roger Martí

10 Ángel

As things stand, Messi has a minimum of 15 games and a maximum of 20 games this season ( Barcelona would need to go all the way and make the Champions League final) to get nearer to or even surpass Pelé's 643 club goals. But it's clear that whether he manages to do this season or next, it's no longer a question of if but when Messi will eventually claim O Rei's goal scoring record