Lionel Messi reached his 700th career goal with an audacious ‘Panenka’ penalty against Atletico Madrid in La Liga on Wednesday as Barcelona drew 2-2.
Having reached the milestone, the Barcelona captain is the only active player alongside Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and the seventh footballer ever to become a member of the elite 700 club.
With Czech Republic striker Josef Bican leading the list with a whopping 805 goals, Brazil’s Romario and Pele occupy the next two spots with Hungary’s Ferenc Puskas and Germany’s Gerd Muller leading the top-five ahead of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The Messi journey began as a super-sub on May 1, 2005, when as 17-year-old, the gifted Argentinian had replaced Samuel Eto’o in the 88th minute and fired in his first goal two minutes later, in a La Liga match against Albacete.
Though it took the teenager a bit more experience and time to become a regular in the Barcelona first eleven, he scored his 100th goal four years later against Dynamo Kyiv in the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League campaign. Messi has been unstoppable after that.
Having averaged 50 goals a calendar year for club and country for the most part of his career, Lionel Messi had his most prolific form under Pep Guardiola’s management in the 2011-12 season.
After reaching the milestone of 200 goals in 2011 with a strike against Real Madrid, the wide forward had taken just one year to reach his next milestone (300 goals), when he scored against La Liga opponent Rayo Vallecano in 2012.
Lionel Messi’s 400th, 500th and 600th goals have come against Granada in 2014, Valencia in 2016 and Atlético Madrid in 2018, respectively. The Rojiblancos have been one of his favourite opponents so far, against whom he has scored 32 career goals.
Having become La Liga’s all-time top goal-scorer in 2014, when he had 251 league goals to his name, the 10-time La Liga winner now has 441 goals in 480 games. The four-time UEFA Champions League winner has 114 European goals in 141 Champions League matches.
Apart from goals in club competitions – Copa del Rey, European Super Cup finals, Club World Cup and Spanish Super Cup – Lionel Messi has 70 goals for his country as well.
Messi's Olympic gold medal
Two of those goals in national colours came at Beijing 2008, where Messi was part of an Argentina side that went all the way to the gold medal.
Messi still cites that victorious campaign as the most treasured moment of his career, explaining to Esquire magazine “because it is a tournament that you may only play in once in your life and involves many athletes from different disciplines.”
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored against 37 of the 40 La Liga teams he has faced in his 16-year-old career with Xerez, Real Murcia and Cadiz being the exceptions.
Breakdown of Lionel Messi’s 700 goals
- Most under a manager: Pep Guardiola 211
- Most at a single venue: Camp Nou 373
- La Liga club most scored against: Sevilla
- Most goals in a single year: 91 (in 2012)
Lionel Messi’s goals by competition:
- La Liga: 441
- Copa del Rey: 53
- UCL: 114
- Supercopa: 14
- Supercup: 3
- Club World Cup: 5
Lionel Messi’s goals for Argentina:
- World Cup: 6
- World Cup Qualifiers: 21
- Copa America: 9
- International Friendlies: 34
Lionel Messi’s goals by body-part:
- Left-foot: 582
- Right-foot: 92
- Head: 24
- Other: 2