Barcelona-Real Sociedad

Messi one goal away from Pelé's one-club record against La Real

Ronald Koeman praised Leo Messi's contribution to Barcelona as the Argentina captain closes in on Pelé's world record of 643 goals for Santos.

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Barcelona will never have a player like Lionel Messi – Koeman

Leo Messi is within one goal of matching Pelé's one-club goals record ahead of Wednesday's LaLiga showdown against leaders Real Sociedad. Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi has netted 642 goals for Barça across all competitions following his strike in last week's 1-0 victory over Levante.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's game, Ronald Koeman insisted Barça will never have a player like Messi again.

Koeman: "I don't know how many hat-tricks Messi has scored"

On the looming record, Koeman told reporters of the 33-year-old attacker: "Well, [Messi's] stats are amazing. I don't think we'll ever have another player at this club who has given that much in terms of effectiveness.

"That's why he is the number one. He is a very important player, as we saw the other day [against Levante]. Our attack depends a lot on Leo. They are big stats… I don't know how many hat-tricks he has scored already. Once again, it is unbelievable what he has done for this club."

Messi has been involved in 14 goals in his 10 home LaLiga games against Sociedad (10 goals and four assists), including registering four goals and two assists in his past five such appearances against the club in the top flight.

Barca – eighth in the table and nine points off the pace – have won their past 22 LaLiga games on home soil against Sociedad.

Koeman's men could equal their longest ever winning run at home to La Real in the competition (23 between 1929 and 1961).