MADRID: At just 22, Lionel Messi just can’t stop making history and on Saturday his glittering career shone even brighter when he became the youngest player in Barcelona history to score 100 goals for the club.
It was the latest landmark for the Argentine star who has already won three league titles, two Champions Leagues and collected both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2009.
Messi scored twice in the final five minutes in Barcelona’s 4-0 home win over Sevilla on Saturday to mark his 100th and 101st goals in Barca’s colours and he has needed just 188 games to reach his century.
The Argentine has 68 goals in the league, 19 in the Champions League, 10 in the Kings Cup, two in the Spanish Super Cup and two in the World Club Championship.
Messi said he was happy to bring up his century but cherished the vital goals he scored in finals last season such as the header against Manchester United in the 2-0 Champions league final win and his goal in the World Club Championship victory.
“I remember the important goals, the ones in finals, more than the nice goals,” said Messi.
“Just like the other important things that have happened in the past this doesn’t hold too much importance and I don’t think about it. I am relaxed over the whole thing and just want to do more things.”
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola heaped praise on the modest Messi and said the forward could go on to write many more new chapters in Barcelona history.
“You just have to congratulate him. It’s amazing at his age and it’s in his hands to break all the records,” said Guardiola.
“What we all like about him is his endless ambition. I can tell he wants more. The figures show what a great trajectory he’s had and he’s a great example for future generations.”
The two late goals from Messi against Sevilla made it five in his last two matches following a hat-trick at Tenerife last weekend and he now leads the goalscoring charts on 14.
Barcelona are now five points ahead of Real Madrid in the standings after their rivals lost 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao, but Messi called for caution with the season not even at the halfway point.
“It is an important advantage because five points is a decent lead but we know there are a lot of games to go and it is a long season,” said Messi. “There is the whole second half of the season left and Madrid will be up there.
“We don’t have anything to prove to anyone. We will continue with the same mentality as last season and we want to continue winning things and I think we have shown that.”
Barcelona crashed out of the Kings Cup to Sevilla on Wednesday so they won’t be able to match last season’s treble.
But they are unbeaten leaders in the league and are in the last 16 of the Champions League where they face VfB Stuttgart. — AFP