BARCELONA

Messi equals Barcelona's LaLiga appearances record set by Xavi

After starting Barcelona's meeting with Deportivo Alaves, Lionel Messi equalled a club record held by Xavi.

Messi equals Barcelona's LaLiga appearances record set by Xavi

Lionel Messi equalled Barcelona's all-time LaLiga appearances record set by Xavi in Saturday's 5-1 win over Deportivo Alavés at Camp Nou.

It was thought Ronald Koeman might opt to leave Messi out given the importance of Tuesday's Champions League round-of-16 first-leg game against Paris Saint-Germain.

However, given the depleted nature of the Barça squad at the moment, Koeman made the decision to include his captain from the start.

It was Messi's 505th LaLiga appearance for Barça , tying the haul managed by club great Xavi, and the Argentinian could surpass his former team-mate next week at home to Cadiz.

The club captain has moved to within just eight games of the former midfielder’s overall record for the club of 767 games in all competitions. However, Messi still has some way to go to get among the top five all-time appearance makers in LaLiga history. Leading that list is former Barça and Spain keeper Andoni Zubizarreta (622), followed by Joaquín (still going at Betis on 567), Raúl González (550), Eusebio Sacristán (543), and Paco Buyo (542).