A sensation. A magician. The greatest of all time.
Although opinions vary on the last one, it is undeniable that Lionel Messi is among the greatest football players of all time.
The 36-year-old striker continued to shatter records that might never be topped on Monday, winning his eighth Ballon d’Or, three greater than any other player.
After leading Argentina to victory in the World Cup in Qatar in December, Messi concluded his 20-year European football career with Barcelona and signed with Major League Soccer team Inter Miami in July.
1Family Radio examines some of the achievements and milestones that Messi has achieved over the years as he continues to thrive for both club and country.
Most Ballon d’Or awards: 8
When Messi was named the 2022–23 Ballon d’Or winner—the title given to the world’s best football player—it came as little surprise.
Even with the best efforts of prolific Manchester City striker Erling Haaland, he virtually assured himself of adding another trophy to his record, having played an important part in helping Argentina win the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Cristiano Ronaldo is now playing in Saudi Arabia and is Messi’s closest competitor; but, at 38 years old and not even included in the 30-man shortlist, it is difficult to envision the Portuguese forward matching Messi’s total.
The only two past winners who are still active are France’s Karim Benzema and Croatia’s Luka Modric, demonstrating the dominance of Messi and Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or race. They are both well into their 30s and have little prospect of breaking the record.
Messi’s opponents will have to wait a long while to catch up to him. But Haaland, Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid and England, Vinicius Jr. of Real Madrid and Brazil, and even Harry Kane of Bayern Munich and England are all touting the prospect of being in the race in the future.
Maximum goals scored during a La Liga season: 50
It is hard to predict when this outstanding score achievement may be surpassed, although historical evidence indicates it may take quite a while.
In addition to setting a La Liga record, Messi’s 50 goals in 37 games for Barcelona in 2011–12 are also the most goals by any player in any of the top five leagues in Europe since the Premier League’s founding in 1992–93.
In the whole history of La Liga, which began in 1929, only three players have scored 40 goals. The last time the record was reached was seven years ago, when Luis Suarez accomplished it. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also achieved it twice.
Most goals scored in a season across all competitions: 73
This figure appears to be unbeatable.
Messi set a record in the 2011–12 season when he scored 73 goals for Barcelona across all competitions. Since then, no one has come close.
Although Haaland appeared to score goals every week during his inaugural Premier League campaign last season, he ended with 52 goals, 21 fewer than Messi’s incredible feat.
Even the legendary Dixie Dean of Everton is 10 goals short, having scored an incredible 63 goals in 1927–28, an English Premier League record that has held for 95 years.
Most Champions League goals for one club: 120
It appears like Messi may not break the record as the best scorer in the Champions League. He is currently in second place, 11 goals behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s 140, and both players have most likely played their final match of the competition.
However, Messi’s 120 goals for Barcelona are the most goals a player has ever scored for a single team in the league.
The next-highest score is Ronaldo’s 105 for Real Madrid, followed far behind by Karim Benzema’s 78 for Real.
It seems doubtful that anyone will be able to duplicate Messi’s achievement anytime soon because it is uncommon for players in the modern game to stick with just one team.
Most goals for Argentina: 106
Messi continues to be Argentina’s top scorer by a wide margin.
Since beginning his international career in 2005, he has scored 48 goals more than Gabriel Batistuta, the previous record holder, and 63 more than Sergio Aguero, who is currently in third place.
It will take a long time, if ever, before anyone approaches Messi’s Argentina record because he is continually adding to his total and his two closest competitors have retired.