BARCELONA: World Player of the Year Leo Messi is about to take yet another step upward in his record-breaking career if he scores against Almeria on Saturday writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

His latest goal, Barcelona’s second in the champions’ 4-1 defeat of Real Sociedad in Nou Camp on Tuesday, was his 222nd in the Spanish league. One more against Almeria will bring him level with the total of old Barcelona hero Cesar Rodriguez – albeit Cesar’s goals were scored not only for Barcelona but also for Granada, Elche and Cultural Leonesa.

Only four other players have scored more goals in the history of La Liga: Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra 251, Real and Atletico Madrid’s Hugo Sanchez 234, Real Madrid’s Raul Gonzalez 228 and Real Madrid’s Alfredo Di Stefano 227.

Messi’s goal against Sociedad was also his 323 in competitive football, the same single-club total in Spanish football as Raul. The difference is that Raul played 741 games and the remarkable Messi, so far, had played ‘only’ 387.

At the present rate he will soon overtake the all-time one-club leader, Zarra, who scored 335 in competitive football for Bilbao.

Nou Camp anniversary

Barcelona’s victory over Sociedad, on the 56th anniversary of the opening of Nou Camp, was their sixth in six games to equal their best-ever start to a league season.

Messi had to share the spotlight with Neymar who, in the first fourth minute, scored his first competitive goal for Barcelona since his summer arrival from Santos.

Sergio Busquets and league newcomer Marc Batra scored the other Barcelona goals, meaning that the club’s this season have already been shared among 11 players.

In addition playmaker Xavi had a ‘goal’ contentiously disallowed for offside and Alexis Sanchez headed against a post.

Alberto De La Bella scored a second-half consolation for Sociedad who last kept a clean sheet in Nou Camp back in 1983 when Spain captain Luis Arconada was their goalkeeper.

Bartra entered the game for his league debut in the 35th minute in place of Sergio Mascherano who was injured in an accidental tangle with Busquets. The Argentinian will miss Almeria but is expected to be back against Celtic in the Champions League next week.


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