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article imageLionel Messi becomes all-time Champions League goalscorer

By Tyrrell Meertins     Nov 25, 2014 in Sports
Lionel Messi can’t stop breaking records. It appears to be his favourite pastime. His efforts to defy all odds and cement his place in football history as the best player to ever grace the game has become the norm.
Messi carried his scintillating form into the Champions League, where he notched another hat-trick to guide Barcelona past APOEL. Four days prior, he recorded his 254th La Liga goal to end Telmo Zarra’s 59-year run as the division’s all-time leading scoring leader.
Where many have referenced Xavi and Andres Iniesta as the key cogs to Barcelona’s success – and during the Pep Guardiola era they were significant – Messi has taken it upon himself over the past two years to ensure the Catalan club remains amongst Europe’s elite. Along with scoring his 31st career hat-trick, the first with solely his right foot, Messi surpassed Raul Gonzalez’s Champions League record and is now the competition’s all-time leading scorer with 74 goals in 91 appearances.
Nevertheless, with Barcelona’s progress into the knockout round guaranteed prior to kickoff, Messi’s record-breaking week result ed in praise from manager Luis Enrique.
“I have never seen a player like Messi,” said Enrique over the weekend. “I feel lucky to be his manager. Nobody can be compared to him. He’s one of a kind and we’ll never see anyone like him ever again. We are privileged to have him and be able to watch him.”
With Barcelona struggling to regain top spot domestically, and in Europe, Enrique needs Messi’s to maintain his current goalscoring form. Injuries and fixture congestion has witnessed a dip in Messi’s form in comparison to his peak under Guardiola, where he scored 73 goals in a season, scored in two Champions League finals, and won four Ballon d'Or awards. But with a midfield incapable of dominating central areas and creating chances, Messi’s workload in his dual role has increased this season.
Although Messi’s goal tally is unlikely to meet the heights of the past, his presence, and all-round involvement at the Camp Nou is indispensable. Rumours are circulating Europe regarding Messi’s future, but the Argentine was simply focused on the club’s performance following an additional three points in the Champions League.
"I am happy for having achieved such a nice record in a competition of this importance," said the 27-year-old.
"But the really relevant thing is that we took the three points. Barcelona played a great match."
He walks around the pitch conserving his energy, before striking the opposition within a blink of an eye. Often looking for pockets of space to conduct his magic, Messi’s move to a central role under Pep Guardiola was integral to an era of greatness.
Silent, but misunderstood. Hardworking, but opting to walk to execute short sprints at goal, opposed to running at full speed. Messi is equivalent to an artist capable of creating a masterpiece without an ounce of inspiration. The Argentine’s ruthless efficiency, appreciation of space, eye for goal, and ability to dominate a game comes natural. Frankly, it’s never been witnessed.
"I'll say it again, he's the best ever in this game," stated Enrique.
The praise from Messi’s manager is expected, but it’s a tune that’s been hummed by the greatest personalities involved in the game. Messi’s brilliance has reached the extraordinary status that will set him apart from the rest.We’re living in an era where two stars are performing at unbelievable levels, but Messi, in particular, is one of a kind.
At the tender age of 27, Messi’s the all-time leading scorer for Barcelona, La Liga Champions League, and on the verge of breaking Luis Figo’s all-time assist record (107) in Spain – Messi currently sits at 101.
Barcelona can’t afford to lose a player of Messi’s stature – a man capable of winning a game on his own, and elevating the quality of those around him.
With so much football ahead of Messi, records will be set, more trophies will be attained, and an immaculate legacy will increase in stature with every passing year.
When it’s all said and done, Messi is set to go down as the best player to ever play the game.
Embrace his greatness before it’s too late.
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