The incredible story of Lionel Messi's 700 goals

Sunday July 05 2020
messi pic

Messi shows his name to the stands at the Santiago Bernabeu after his late winning goal

It might have just been a penalty, but Lionel Messi's panenka spot kick against Atletico Madrid was significant on an individual front.
As the ball crossed the line, the Argentine managed to achieve a significant personal milestone – bagging the 700th goal of his senior career for both club and country.
He joined the likes of Pele, Ferenc Puskas, Gerd Muller and – yes – on-pitch rival Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of goalscoring by hitting that landmark strike.
It was his 630th for Barcelona, which, when combined with his 70 for Argentina, takes him to that total.
He is comfortably the record goalscorer for both his club and the nation.
Messi's goalscoring feats have been achieved in incredible numbers.
Atletico Madrid, having conceded 32 against him, have been the second hardest-hit side when facing Messi.
They trailed Sevilla, who have conceded 37.
Fierce rivals Real Madrid, meanwhile, have conceded the fourth most strikes against him, at 26.
Oddly, it comes amid one of the lowest goalscoring seasons of his career.
It was his 29th goal of 2019-20, which is the fifth lowest total he has managed since making his senior bow.
It is the least for 12 years, when he scored 21 in the 2007-08 season.
His greatest output was in 2011-12, when he hit a ludicrous 82 goals.
The strike came at the Nou Camp, and Messi does have a good record when playing at home – scoring 384 – but he is also a huge threat on the road, with 263 goals away. He has also managed 53 in neutral venues.
And it was one of 90 penalties he has scored in his career. He has also bagged 52 direct free-kicks, with the rest coming from open play.
Most of his strikes have come from inside the box – 580 – while 120 have been from outside.
He's also hit 582 with his left, just 92 with his right and 24 with his head.
Most of his goals have come in LaLiga, with 441, although he has also been impressive on the big stage of the Champions League. He has hit 114 in that competition.
The penalty was his only strike against Atletico – he has been kept to one goal 264 times in his career. Messi has managed braces 133 times, hat-tricks 47 times, a four-goal haul on six occasions and five once – against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.
Sportsmail has taken a look at his best and most important goals below...
Lionel Messi's top five best goals
5. Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao (May 30, 2015) - Copa del Rey final
It went viral, yet it is easy to forget just where Messi picked up the ball. He is just past the halfway line, in no space at all, on the right. Yet he beats all three men he is confronted with on the right side of the pitch as he bursts into the box.
Then he beats another, has just about enough space on his left foot, and somehow bends a low shot into the bottom corner from a ludicrous angle.
Goals are rarely unstoppable but this felt like a player who could do anything he wanted on the pitch in an 18-second burst.

4. Barcelona vs Getafe (January 16, 2014) - Copa del Rey round of 16
There was more space to work with, and when Messi is given the ball on halfway he is somehow allowed to advance 40 yards without facing a single challenge.
But even so, what he does from there is sublime. He goes into overdrive, dancing around the first challenge, then beating two men with a single nutmeg.
Dressed in the colours of the Catalonian flag, he then rounds the goalkeeper and slams the ball into the back of the net.

3. Barcelona vs Valencia (14 March, 2010) - LaLiga
This is a Xavi assist in name only. He slides a pass to Messi on the edge of the box.
Most players would struggle from there. He had his back to goal, with a marker right next to him. Instead, he spins rapidly, taking two defenders out of the game. He then shuffles past a man on the edge of the box.
Cutting inside to beat another, he tees himself up for the shot and knocks it into the back of the net.

2. Barcelona vs Bayern Munich (6 May, 2015) - Champions League semi-final
Poor Jerome Boateng. He's one of the finest defenders of his generation, a World Cup and Champions League winner, yet it is not clear whether he will ever be able to escape this goal from Messi.
He had already scored that night. In the 80th minute, he dashed into the box. He shimmied to go wide, then inside, then wide again. Boateng, one-on-one against him, was completely bemused and fell over backwards.
Messi just had to score. Which he did, of course.
Boateng was joking but made his outlook clear when taking part in a Q&A earlier this year. Asked what went through his head, he replied: 'Honestly, I would love to see each one of you defending against Messi'.

1. Barcelona vs Getafe (18 April, 2007) - Copa del Rey semi-final
This was probably the moment when we realised that Messi had the chance of being one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots.
It came against Getafe, the little Argentine picking the ball up in his own half. He dribbled past his marker and then took off. He beat the same man twice, then two more, then rounded the keeper and then – from the tightest of angles – finished off with his weaker right foot.
It drew immediate comparisons with Diego Maradona's famous strike against England and was a huge step in establishing Messi's mystique.

And the most important of his 700 goals...
5. Barcelona vs Real Madrid (23 April, 2017) - LaLiga
For Barcelona, there is no game more important than El Clasico, and against Real in 2017 they were fighting for the title.
It was stoppage time at the end of the game with Real Madrid on the attack. Instead, Barcelona won the ball back and countered. When Jordi Alba played it across the area, Messi latched on and there was only one outcome.
He darted over to the stands, ripping off his shirt and then displaying his name to the fans. Just in case, after all he had achieved, they didn't know already.


4. Argentina vs Ecuador (11 October, 2017) - World Cup qualification
Argentina have not lived up to their history during Messi's time as a player and did come close to missing out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup.
That is, until, Messi stepped in while visiting Ecuador in October 2017. It was the final game of qualification. They went behind before Messi intervened. He hit the equaliser and put them ahead.
But it was his hat-trick goal, which confirmed qualification, which was both crucial and brilliant. Darting towards goal, he lobbed the keeper from range and with the stopper only just off the line. It was sublime.

3. Barcelona vs Manchester United (27 May, 2009) - Champions League final
It is easy to forget that there was a stage when there were those who doubted just how good Messi and – to a degree – Pep Guardiola's Barcelona were.
He cast them aside by leaping to an incredible height and heading past Edwin van der Sar to wrap up the 2009 Champions League final for Barcelona. It was his supposed weak point and yet he had used it to his advantage.
Messi even lost a boot in the process as Barcelona put on a brilliant display to win the trophy. It was a huge game for both the star and his club.

2. Barcelona vs Real Madrid (27 April, 2011) – Champions League semi-final
Similarly, there were fears that Jose Mourinho would be able to stifle both Messi and Barcelona after he arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Those were shown to be false as a Messi masterclass gave the visitors a 2-0 lead in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final away from home.
He knocked in Ibrahim Affalay's cross in the 75th minute but the most incredible moment was when he waltzed past four defenders before guiding it past Iker Casillas. It was a moment of individual brilliance on the grandest stage.

1. Barcelona vs Albacete (1 May, 2005) - LaLiga
It was the sort of game managers test out new talent in. Already winning against Albacete in May, Frank Rijkaard stuck on the latest talent out of La Masia – Messi.
Ronaldinho teed him up once. He lobbed the goalkeeper, yet it was ruled out for offside. No bother – the Brazilian just set him up again. And in stoppage time, Messi chipped the keeper and a legend was born.
Speaking two years ago when asked about his favourite goals, Messi said: 'The first against Albacete from Ronnie's [Ronaldinho] pass I will never forget.'