Lionel Messi scored the 700th goal of his career on Tuesday by converting a penalty against Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
Barca’s captain fooled Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak with a chip down the middle at Camp Nou, where he hit another remarkable milestone for club and country.
Messi‘s 700 goals include 630 for Barcelona and 70 for Argentina.
Juventus and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo is the only current player other than Messi to have reached the landmark, boasting 725 strikes in 1002 professional appearances for Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid, the Bianconeri and his national team.
Messi, however, has broken 700 in just 860 matches between Barcelona and Argentina, more than 100 fewer than his former Clasico rival at Madrid needed to reach the same figure, according to Goal.
Czech-Austrian idol Josef Bican holds the all-time record for goals scored in competitive football, having hit 805 in a career that spanned almost three decades and included spells at Rapid Vienna, Slavia Prague and both the Austrian and Czechoslovak national teams.
Behind Bican Iie another Barca favourite, Romario (772/994), Pele (767/831), Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas (746/754), Germany’s Gerd Mulier (735/793) and Ronaldo (725/1002).
Style of Play
Due to his short stature, Messi has a lower centre of gravity than taller players, which gives him greater agility, allowing him to change direction more quickly and evade opposing tackles; this has led the Spanish media to dub him La Pulga Atómica (“The Atomic Flea”).
Despite being physically unimposing, he possesses significant upper-body strength, which, combined with his low centre of gravity and resulting balance, aids him in withstanding physical challenges from opponents; he has consequently been noted for his lack of diving in a sport rife with playacting. His short, strong legs allow him to excel in short bursts of acceleration while his quick feet enable him to retain control of the ball when dribbling at speed.
His former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola once stated, “Messi is the only player that runs faster with the ball than he does without it.” Although he has improved his ability with his weaker foot since his mid-20s, Messi is predominantly a left-footed player with the outside of his left foot, he usually begins dribbling runs, while he uses the inside of his foot to finish and provide passes and assists.
One of the most prolific goalscorers and clinical finishers of all time, Messi is known for his powerful and accurate striking ability from both inside and outside the area, as well as his positioning, quick reactions, and ability to make attacking runs to beat the defensive line.
While he is renowned for his eye for goal, he also functions in a playmaking role, courtesy of his vision and precise passing. Moreover, he is an accurate free kick and a penalty kick taker, though his ability on penalties has somewhat deteriorated in recent seasons.
Although his conversion rate from free kicksy was initially low towards the beginning of his career, he later developed into one of the best free kick takers in the world, and is even considered by certain pundits to be one of the greatest set piece specialists of all time. Messi’s pace, technical ability, and close control of speed, combined with his awareness and understanding of space, enable him to undertake individual dribbling runs towards goal, in particular during counterattacks, usually starting from the halfway line or the right side of the pitch.
Widely considered to be the best dribbler in the world, and one of the greatest of all time, with regard to this ability, his former Argentina manager Diego Maradona has said of him, “The ball stays glued to his foot; I’ve seen great players in my career, but I’ve never seen anyone with Messi’s ball control.”
Beyond his individual qualities, he is also a well-rounded, hard-working team player, known for his creative combinations, in particular with former Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andrés Iniesta.