CL: Teammates hail Lionel Messi's new record of 74 goals
Nicosia (Cyprus): Lionel Messi insisted it was all about the team after becoming the all-time leading scorer in Champions League history during Barcelona's 4-0 win at APOEL on Tuesday night.
Unstoppable: Barcelona star Lionel Messi makes one of his trademark runs into the APOEL defence during Tuesday's Champions League match at the Neo GSP Stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus. Photo/Getty Images
The Argentina striker scored a hat-trick here to make it 74 goals in Europe's top club competition, three more than former Real Madrid striker Raul.
Messi was following up becoming the Primera Division's all-time leading scorer when he scored a treble in a 5-1 triumph over Sevilla on Saturday to make it 253 goals in 289 league appearances.
"It's really beautiful to achieve this record in such a wonderful competition," Messi told fcbarcelona.com. "But the most important thing is the win. We played a great game."
The night in Cyprus was also a big occasion for Luis Suarez, who scored his first official goal since joining Barca from Liverpool this summer. Suarez was elated over Messi's achievement and also excited to have opened his goal account.
"I came here to score goals. Messi and I understand each other really well on the pitch. Messi wasn't anxious to score. He knew that the moment would come. He just helps the team in the best possible way," he said.
Barca defender Marc Bartra, who like Messi has graduated from the youth team at the club, was in awe of his teammate. "Messi's record is spectacular and incredible.
Not in your wildest dreams can you even imagine to achieve what he is doing. He has set very high standards. We leave Cyprus very happy following Messi's record," said Bartra.
Barcelona winger Pedro is convinced Messi will do even greater things. "Messi was very happy. It's not easy to do what he has done and what he still has left to do. Messi has an ambition to continue to beat records. This fact is crucial to our team," said Pedro.