Barcelona boss likens Argentine to legendary basketballer Michael Jordan after he smashes Cesar's 232-goal record to become club's top scorer
Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola likened Lionel Messi to basketball great Michael Jordan after the Argentine became the Spanish club's all-time record scorer on Tuesday. While American Jordan ruled the NBA and set a host of records at the peak of his career with the Chicago Bulls, so Messi, at the age of 24, is achieving unprecedented feats in football.
Messiah: Barca's Messi celebrates a goal against Granada. Pic/AFP
He set the Barcelona goals record in Tuesday night's 5-3 Primera Division win over with Granada at the Nou Camp. Messi equalled the mark of 232 official goals set by Cesar Rodriguez during the 1940s and 50s when he slotted home Isaac Cuenca's cross in the 17th minute, and then secured the record outright in the 68th minute when he lobbed the ball over Granada goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan during his prime. Pic/Getty Images
The 24-year-old completed his hat-trick -- his eighth of the season for Barcelona -- in the 86th minute after rounding Julio Cesar and slamming the ball into the roof of the net. The three-time FIFA World Player of the Year has scored an incredible 48 goals in 40 games for the Catalan giants this season.
Guardiola said: "You have few players who dominate like this, but he does it. You can compare him perfectly to Jordan." Guardiola added: "The day that Leo Messi overcame Cesar, we've had a game from that era. Leo has entered history. Those who knew Cesar have told me that he was exceptional. I want to thank the team for overcoming all adversity and this guy who is continuing to make history.
"It's all been said before about Messi. He doesn't only score goals, he scores great goals; each one is better than the last. We are seeing the very best in action. "I'm sorry for those who try to take his throne but this kid is different, better, we are excited to have him."
Super Messi >> Cesar Rodriguez hit 232 goals for Barca at the age of 34. Messi is 10 years younger. >> Messi has scored 48 goals in 40 games for Barca this season including 8 hat-tricks. >> Messi's next target is to break Paulino Alcantara's record of 369 goals (over 200 goals were scored in unofficial games) for Barca.