BERNAT LÓPEZ / © XTREMFOOTBALL
Lionel Messi scored his 400th La Liga goal as Barcelona beat Eibar at the Nou Camp to regain their five-point lead at the top of the table. Messi, the all-time leading scorer in the Spanish top flight, finished into the bottom corner for Barça’s second.
The landmark goal comes in the Argentine’s 435th league game. Luis Suarez earlier put Barca in front by finishing a fine team move before tucking in his side’s third in the second half.
“It would be an astonishing statistic if he were just a goal scorer, but he’s so much more than that. We’re blessed to live in his time”, tweeted former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker.
Messi is the first player to score 400 times in any of Europe’s “big five” leagues and given the Barça star is still only 31 years-old he’s arguably got a reasonable chance of surpassing Josef Bican’s record of 500 goals in the Czech league.
It was his 659th goal in total for the Catalan club, in just 575 competitive first-team matches. Messi leads the scoring charts in La Liga with 17 goals in his 17 appearances this season.
Among his 400 finishes have been 83 braces and 31 hat-tricks, helping to put him 89 goals ahead of the league’s second top-scorer Ronaldo. Next on the list is Telmo Zarra, who played for Athletic Bilbao from 1940 to 1955, with 251 efforts. He is followed by Mexican Hugo Sanchez with 234 and Real Madrid legend Raul with 228.