La Liga

Messi smashes 46-year-old Pele record with goal against Valladolid

Lionel Messi has become the most prolific scorer ever for a single club after notching his 644th goal for Barcelona

11:23pm on Tuesday 22nd December 2020
Robin Bairner

Barcelona Lionel Messi has broken Pele’s mark of scoring 643 goals for a single club.

The 33-year-old scored his 644th strike for the Blaugrana in Tuesday’s Primera Division match against Valladolid to claim a record that had stood for 46 years.

The Argentine linked brilliantly with the flick from Pedri to slot into the back of the net after a game in which he had tried numerous efforts without success.

The 33-year-old has played the entire duration of his professional career with the Catalan side, having made his debut for the first team in 2004.

His first goal for the club arrived against Albacete in the La Liga on 1st May 2005, making him the youngest scorer for Barcelona at the time.

He quickly established himself as a regular for Barca and slowly saw his goal tally increase. His breakthrough campaign arrived in 2008/09, when he scored 38 times in 51 outings.

Messi went on to score at least 40 goals per season in the subsequent 10 campaigns, a run that was only broken last year when he scored 31 times in 44 matches.

Given such a prodigious scoring rate, it is little surprise that Barca have been wildly successful with him in their side, winning the Primera Division 10 times and picking up the Champions League on four occasions.

Messi, meanwhile, has won the Ballon d’Or on a record six occasions.

Pele, meanwhile, is one of the game’s legendary figures. He turned out for Santos and the New York Cosmos during a playing career that spanned 21 years.

It was while playing in Brazil that he enjoyed his greatest club success. Unlike Messi, Pele absolutely exploded onto the scene as a 15-year-old, scoring at the rate of more than one goal per game in his debut 1957 season.

Pele managed nine successive seasons in which he scored more than 40 goals, including a personal best of 64 in 48 matches.

Pele, who uniquely won three World Cups for Brazil, did not have the opportunity to win the Ballon d’Or, which was initially open to only European-based players, while the FIFA World Player of the Year was only introduced in 1991 – more than a decade after his career ended.

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