Luis Enrique says Messi is 'one of a kind'

Luis Enrique watched in awe as Messi made history once again / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Barça manager says he’s ‘never seen a player like Messi’ and that he feels lucky to be the Argentine’s coach

The day Leo Messi broke Telmo Zarra’s all-time La Liga scoring record,  Luis Enrique had nothing but words of praise for the star of the night’s game versus Sevilla. Speaking to reporters after the game, the Barça manager said that he’s “never seen a player like Messi.”

He continued: “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 and we are priviliged to have him and be able to watch him.”[[CITA_1]] The coach thinks Messi will hold this record for a long time, and it will likely never be broken.

We’re very lucky to have him on our team and enjoy him.

Leo Messi is now the all-time La Liga scoring leader

Messi now has a record 253 goals in La Liga.  FCB INFOGRAPHIC
The Barça forward surpassed Telmo Zarra’s previous record of 251 goals

It’s been almost a decade since Messi’s first, and his best year saw him get 50 in La Liga

Leo Messi is now the new all-time La Liga scoring leader. He scored three times against Sevilla at Camp Nou on Saturday evening, giving him a total of 253 for his career, thus surpassing the previous record held by Telmo Zarra since 1955.

Telmo Zarraonaindía played for Athletic Bilbao from 1940 to 1955, scoring 251 goals in 277 games (0.91 per game). Almost 60 years later, Messi has gone past him. Just a few weeks after the 10th anniversary of Messi’s Barça debut, the Argentinian scored his 253rd career goal in only 289 league matches (0.87 per game).

The 27 year-old Leo Messi has now reached the summit, one season after surpassing the career marks of Hugo Sánchez (234), Raúl (228), Alfredo Di Stéfano (227), César (224) and Quini (219). The eighth player to have over 200 career league goals is Pahiño (210). 

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner first found the net on May 1st, 2005 against Albacete at Camp Nou. Since then, especially since the 2008/2009 season, Messi hasn’t seen a record he hasn’t broken. His best year was in 2011/2012 when he got 50 of his 253 league goals.

One of the few records he has yet to break is that of the maximum number of seasons leading La Liga in scoring. Zarra holds that record still, with six. Messi has done it three times, in 2009/10, 2011/12 and 2012/13.

 

RECAP – Messi bags hat trick, breaks all-time La Liga scoring record as Barça take down Sevilla by the horns, 5-1

Leo Messi is tossed skyward by his teammates after breaking the all-time La Liga scoring record / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Leo sets new mark in impressive fashion and is now the all-time La Liga scoring leader

The Argentinian leads the rout as Barça dominate one of Spain’s top teams

Lionel Messi scored three times to break the all-time La Liga goal scoring record and propel FC Barcelona to a run-away victory over Sevilla on Saturday night at Camp Nou.

Messi was brought down just outside the penalty area in the 20th minute and then proceeded to take the ensuing direct kick and curl it in over a leaping four-man wall into the upper left corner. Sevilla keeper Beto tried his best but couldn’t even get a hand on it.

The goal was the 251st career goal in La Liga for the four-time Ballon d’Or winner. It tied Telmo Zarra, who played for Athletic Bilbao and had held the record since 1955.

Messi had been trying to tie the record for weeks, but had run into a combination of stifling defences intent on stopping him with double and triple teams and sheer bad luck, including several shots over that span that hit the woodwork.

There was a feeling earlier this week that the record was likely to fall versus Sevilla, as the Andalusian side have historically been one of Messi’s favourite victims. Heading into Saturday’s match, he had burned Sevilla for 18 career goals.

Total control

Throughout the first half Barça dominated with nearly seventy per cent possession. Sergio Busquets stood tall in midfield and effectively put the brakes on any thoughts Sevilla had of making a counterattack.

Just before the break, Barça had a pair of golden opportunities to extend the lead but a last ditch defensive effort swept away Jordi Alba’s five-hole shot that beat Beto who, a few seconds later, made a marvellous one-handed stop on Neymar from point-blank range.

Second-half flurry

The second half had barely got underway when Sevilla sent a dangerous cross into Barça’s area that somehow made it through Claudio Bravo as he arrived to the ball at the same time as a Sevilla attacker. Jordi Alba was not expecting it to bounce his way and it deflected off his leg into the net, allowing Sevilla to draw even at 1-1, despite not having registered a shot on goal.

Barely 2 minutes later, Barça re-entered Sevilla’s half when Xavi chipped a through ball of his own that caught the Sevilla defence flat-footed and found Neymar who headed over Beto and into the back of the net to retake the lead.

In the 65th minute, Luis Suárez got loose on the right wing and sprinted to catch up to a deep ball just before the end line. Suárez, who had been relatively quiet up until that point, corralled the sphere and floated a pass to the far post, where Ivan Rakitic headed home for a 3-1 lead.

The new king of Spain

But despite the flurry of second half goals, it wasn’t until the 72nd minute that the fans got what they came to see. Barça went out on a three-on-two with Messi out in front. He fed Neymar to the left who passed up a clear shot on goal to give back to Messi. It was a risky pass but Leo banged it in to extend the lead and surpass Zarra.

Messi was immediately mobbed by his teammates who tossed him into the air as the crowd broke into a standing ovation, chanting his name in unison.

And to put the icing on the cake, the newly minted record-holder struck again with another fine feed from Neymar, blasting a low shot into the left corner from 17 metres for his third goal of the evening and the 253rd of his career in La Liga.

Leo Messi's top 10 goals in La Liga

Leo Messi became the all-time league scoring record on Saturday / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
We take a look back at the Argentinian’s best works of art upon breaking Telmo Zarra’s record

Leo Messi is now living history in the Spanish First Division. The Argentinian superstar surpassed Telmo Zarra on Saturday to become the career goal-scoring leader in La Liga history. In honour if this milestone, we take a look back at the top 10 goals he has scored in La Liga throughout his career.

Among Messi’s best ever we have included goals at San Mamés, Vicente Calderón and La Romareda. We also haven’t forgotten about his first goal ever, versus Albacete.

MESSI’S TOP 10 GOALS

MATCH PREVIEW – Barça host Sevilla in first game after international break (20.00 CET)

Neymar Jr, Messi and Piqué are all in the squad / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB
The Sevilla game is the first of nine matches in the run in to the Christmas break

Masip, Montoya, Douglas, Vermaelen and Mascherano all left out of the squad

Barça are back in action tonight after the international break with the visit of Sevilla marking the start of an intense 29 day period leading up to Christmas, during which the team will play nine game in the Champions League, Spanish League and Spanish Cup

Luis Enrique can call on Mathieu and Rafinha who have both been passed fit, but Iniesta is still out injured. Masip, Douglas, Vermaelen, Montoya and Mascherano are all omitted form the match day squad.

Leo Messi will be looking to finally pass the Spanish League all time goal scorer’s record tonight and he’ll be up against one of his favourite victims- the Argentinean has bagged 18 goals against Sevilla in his career so far. Luis Suárez will also be hoping to get his first goal for the Club after providing three assists in his first four games.

Unai Emery’s Sevilla will be a tough test though. The current Europa League Champions sit fourth in La Liga, just two points behind Barça and as Luis Enrique warned on Friday: “they will pressure high up the pitch and could cause us problems as we try to build moves. They are very good at dead ball situations and can get forward quickly with fast players down the flanks”.

The game will also mark the return to the Camp Nou of on loan youngsters Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suárez, though ex- Barça full back Fernando Navarro misses out through injury, as does Tremoulinas.