Lionel Messi goes a step ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo
Argentine's brilliant brace in Barcelona's massive 5-1 win over Valladolid takes him past Portuguese rival Cristiano's club goals record of 606
Barcelona: It's been an ongoing record-breaking race between two of the world's biggest football stars, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ever since they broke onto the global stage nearly two decades ago. And yesterday Messi went a step or make that two, ahead of his Portuguese rival. The mercurial Argentine scored a brace in Barcelona's 5-1 win over Valladolid in a La Liga encounter and in doing so, went past Ronaldo's club goals record.
Ronaldo has scored 606 goals in total for four teams — Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus — in 813 matches. Messi's two strikes saw him take his goal tally to 608 goals in just 695 matches. And all the goals have come with Spanish giants Barcelona. Though Messi didn't wish to speak about goal-scoring record after the big win at Camp Nou, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde couldn't stop praising his star striker.
Valverde hails Leo
"I don't know what more I can say," said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. "There were wonders coming out of his foot," said Valladolid's Michel. "You can only applaud and enjoy it." Valladolid had threatened to make a game of it when Kiko Olivas benefitted from a rare Marc-Andre ter Stegen error to equalise, after Clement Lenglet had struck in the second minute. But with Messi in this sort of mood, the result never felt in doubt as victory sent Barcelona back to the top of La Liga, after Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Alaves a couple of hours before.
Barca's seven star show
Valverde's side have now won seven consecutive matches in all competitions, a run that began by beating Villarreal on September 24, when Messi returned from injury to make his first start of the season. He has needed time, admitting earlier this month he was still short of sharpness even as goals flew in against Sevilla, Eibar and Slavia Prague. But this display sent a resounding message that Messi is back to his best even if Valverde feels there is more to come: "He is still getting back to full fitness. But he is getting better and better."
Valladolid were unfortunate Messi, 32, was fresh after the postponed Clasico on Saturday meant Barcelona and Real Madrid were given the weekend off. It meant this was the first game at Camp Nou since violent protests broke out across Catalonia after nine pro-independence leaders were sentenced to imprisonment on October 21.
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