Lionel Messi turns 34: A look at his career achievements
Football superstar Lionel Messi is celebrating his 34th birthday today. The Barcelona ace, who is expected to sign a new two-year contract extension, is currently plying his trade for Argentina at the Copa America 2021. Messi had a strong 2020-21 campaign, winning another individual award - the Pichichi. He also helped Barca win the Copa del Rey. Here we look at his career achievements.
Messi has been La Liga's best player in the history of the competition and his numbers are staggering. He has netted 474 goals for Barcelona in 520 league appearances. He scored 30 goals to top the chart in the 2020-21 season. Notably, Messi has scored 25-plus goals in 12 successive La Liga campaigns, starting in the 2009-10 season.
Messi rules the chart in La Liga in terms of assists (192). Messi holds the record for most assists made in a season (21 in 2019-20). He also holds the record for most La Liga goals in a season (50 in 2011-12) and the highest number of league goals in a calendar year (59 in 2012). He has scored against 38 different teams too.
After the completion of the 2020-21 edition of La Liga, Messi was awarded the Pichichi award. Messi has won the most number of Pichichi trophies in La Liga history (8). Messi won the first of his eight Pichichi awards in the 2009-10 season, clinching the top honor again in 2011-12, 2012-13, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21.
Messi has scored the most hat-tricks in La Liga history (36). He has also scored the most braces in the league (93). He also has the best goals tally in terms of direct free-kicks (36) and penalties (73).
As per Squawka Football, Messi is the first player in La Liga history to be crowned top scorer in five consecutive seasons. He surpassed Alfredo Di Stefano and Hugo Sanchez (both four). As per ESPN, Messi has joined Jean-Pierre Papin as the only player with five consecutive top scorer trophies in Europe's top five leagues. Papin won his from 1987-88 to 1991-92 with Marseille.
Messi has netted a whopping 672 career club goals for Barcelona. He has achieved the same in 778 matches. Notably, Messi has scored 30-plus goals in a single season across competitions in 13 consecutive seasons. He has also scored the second-highest number of goals in the UEFA Champions League (120). He has the fourth-highest number of goals in the Copa del Rey.
Messi has won six Ballon d'Or awards (highest). The 34-year-old won FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009 and The Best FIFA Men's Player in 2019. He has won six European Golden Shoes and two UEFA Men's Player of the Year awards. In La Liga, he has won six Best Player awards. He won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year in 2020.
Messi has won 34 club career trophies with Barcelona. With his presence, Messi has helped the club win 10 La Liga honors, four Champions League titles, seven Copa del Reys, seven Spanish Super Cups, three FIFA Club World Cups, and three UEFA Super Cups.