Another milestone for record-breaker Messi

Lionel Messi ensured another entry into the history books when he became La Liga's all-time leading goalscorer on Saturday.

Another game, another demonstration of the Barcelona striker's prolific streak. 

Sevilla were the latest side to witness his brilliance at close quarters this weekend at Camp Nou, a hat-trick from the Argentina international taking him past Telmo Zarra's Liga record of 251, which the former Athletic Bilbao forward held for 59 years.

The numbers are almost hard to fathom. At 27, Messi now has 253 Spanish top-flight goals and over 400 in total if you fancy throwing in his strikes in all competitions for club and country. 

Unai Emery's men were completely powerless as the prodigal Messi tore the UEFA Europa League holders apart at will, showcasing an assortment of talents in all three goals.

A first-half free-kick caressed perfectly into the top-left corner drew gasps as Messi moved level with Zarra in sumptuous fashion, before displaying his predatory instincts with a sliding finish for his second after half-time.

Messi's third goal saw the Camp Nou faithful treated to a trademark jinking run, a clever interchange with Neymar and then an inch-perfect strike into the bottom corner.

Sevilla had no answer as they were ripped to shreds by one of the sport's all-time greats.

But while Messi has now set himself apart from every other player to appear in Spain's top flight, how, according to Opta, does his record compare to the Liga legend he has surpassed?


Messi reached the 251 target in 289 La Liga matches and, although his record of 0.87 goals per game is startlingly good, Zarra's tally from 278 appearances gives him a marginally better average of 0.9.


Messi is at an immediate disadvantage due to his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo, thus making his haul of three Pichichi trophies - the award handed to the top scorer in La Liga - quite an achievement, although it is half the number that Zarra won.


It is neck and neck here, as both players scored 53 doubles on their way to the 251 milestone.


Not including the treble strike that took him to 253 goals, Messi scored three or more in a single match 19 times in La Liga, but Zarra again comes out on top with 22.

While these statistics highlight Zarra's own incredible career, at the same time they help to relay quite how impressive Messi's achievement is considering the standing and overall physical demands of modern football.

What also must not be forgotten is that Messi has broken Zarra's record aged just 27, clinching it less than 10 years after scoring his first goal against Albacete in May 2005 as a 17-year-old.

With Messi potentially having close to another 10 years in La Liga depending on his fitness, this Argentinian superstar's own record standing for over 59 years is hardly beyond the realms of possibility.