Global English

Lionel Messi equals Pelé’s record of 643 goals for a single club

Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has equalled Pelé’s all-time club scoring tally after the Blaugrana’s 2-2 draw with Valencia.

His 643rd career goal for Barcelona since his 2004 debut matched Pelé’s tally from 1957-74 for Brazilian club Santos.

Messi is Barcelona’s and the Spanish league’s all-time leading scorer, and was also the most prolific scorer among Europe’s top leagues in January 2018 when he reached 366 league goals, surpassing Gerd Müller’s Bundesliga mark of 365.

Messi had already surpassed Müller’s single-year goal mark by scoring 86 times in 2012.

Brazilian great, Pelé, congratulated the Argentina forward on social media.

“Like you, I know what it’s like to love wearing the same shirt every day. Like you, I know that there is nothing better than the place we feel at home,” he said.

“Congratulations on your historic record, Lionel.

“But above all, congratulations on your beautiful career at Barcelona. Stories like ours, of loving the same club for so long, unfortunately will be increasingly rare in football.”

Pelé’s comments addressed the heart of Messi’s uncertain situation at Barcelona as the latter has yet to make known his future plans as the club is clearly no longer the dominant force that he had done so much to contribute to over the past two decades. More importantly, the whole football waiting as he has yet to recant on his announcement last summer that he wanted to leave the club in an exit for Manchester City.

His contract expires in June, and he will be free to negotiate with other clubs come January, which is just not many days away.

The latest setback in the form of a draw deprived Barcelona of the much-needed three points and left Ronald Koeman’s team in fifth place and eight points adrift of league leader Atlético Madrid, which got two goals by Luis Suárez to beat Elche 3-1.