Messi scores double on landmark Barca appearance

Lionel Messi scored two goals on his record-equalling 767th appearance for Barcelona in a comprehensive 4-1 La Liga victory over Huesca.

The 33-year-old scored his side’s first and fourth goals as Barca climbed into second place in the table to move within four points of league leaders Atletico Madrid.

Messi matched Xavi’s all-time appearance record in the Barcelona shirt, a career which includes winning 34 trophies and now scoring 661 goals since he made his debut in 2004, with 27 so far this season.

In typical fashion of the Argentine forward, Messi put Barcelona ahead in the 13th minute.

He took a touch before unleashing a curled shot from 20 yards, which hit the underside of the crossbar before going past goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez.

Lionel Messi (Getty)
Messi inspired Barcelona to a victory which moves them to within four points of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid

Barcelona doubled their lead in the 34th minute with Antoine Griezmann scoring in almost identical fashion to Messi’s opener, a curled finish into the top corner.

In the final moments of the first half, Huesca were awarded a penalty on VAR review for a foul on Rafa Mir, who also dispatched the spot-kick into the corner to halve the home side’s advantage.

Messi then turned provider for Barcelona’s third, crossing from the left to Oscar Mingueza who headed the ball into the net from close range for his maiden club goal.

Oscar Mingueza (getty)
Oscar Mingueza netted his first Barcelona goal in the win over Huesca

Huesca almost pulled another goal back when Mir found himself in the six-yard box as the ball came across the face of goal, but he mistimed his jump and the ball rebounded off his chest and over the top.

Messi completed his double at the death as he cut inside before sending another strike from outside the box into the back of the net to cap his record-levelling appearance with two goals and one assist, as Huesca remain bottom of the table and four points from safety.

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Barcelona legends pay tribute to Lionel Messi after he equalled Xavi’s record of 767 appearances for the club.

What the managers said…

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman: “I cannot say more about Leo. The level he has for many years, many games…he has equalled Xavi and on Sunday in principle, he will surpass him. He is the most important man in the history of Barca. Luckily, he is still with us.

“I’ve always said there was a lot of La Liga [matches this year]. It is difficult for any team to win matches throughout the year. The points we lost for a few weeks [were many]. We have reacted well.

“The team is confident. We cannot lose more points because we have already lost quite a few.”

Huesca manager Pacheta: “We are conceding a lot of goals. Today there are three goals, two for the squad, another that touches a defence.

“We will have to shake hands. We have played a very worthy game even though the result is disappointing. I am proud of the team.

“We have done many things that are good. We have had goal situations. We have been involved in the game. Now our fight begins. I don’t like to talk about finals but now we have to get four points more than three teams.”