Magical Messi hits 50-goal mark

Magical Messi hits 50-goal mark

Magical Messi hits 50-goal mark

Lionel Messi needed just 25 games to score his 30 La Liga goals. The Barcelona star had 50 goals in 43 games in all competitions this season. AFP photo

Lionel Messi notched up his 50th club goal of the season with a double on March 11 as Barcelona beat Racing Santander 2-0, but the Catalan club still remains 10 points off La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

After scoring a remarkable five in the Champions League in midweek against a reeling Bayer Leverkusen, Messi found the net in both halves, the second a strike from the penalty spot.

The Argentine has 10 more goals overall than Cristiano Ronaldo, although the Portuguese star leads the way in La Liga with 32.

Ronaldo hit a brace on Saturday as Real Madrid beat Real Betis 3-2 to maintain their surge towards a first title since 2008.

Messi needed just 25 matches to score his 30 La Liga goals in addition to eight assists. The Argentinean superstar has 12 goals and four assists in seven Champions League matches, along with two goals and four assists in six Spanish King’s Cup matches.

Messi also had three goals in Spanish Supercup games, two in Club World Cup and once in the UEFA Super Cup.

The forward has 230 goals in 312 matches in all competitions for Barcelona.

His international record is comparably modest next to his Barcelona statistics, with just 22 goals in 67 games over the last eight years when he played for Argentina. Messi’s form is bringing Barcelona its usual good run back, since Barcelona has now won its last four league games and coach Pep Guardiola says that the team is bouncing back after having so many players sidelined.

“We have been playing well for a while, but we have had to suffer from a lot of injuries and while players have come in and done well, it still puts a greater strain on the team,” said Guardiola.

“It was a good game from us and we managed well to pass the ball around but it is never easy against a side who have nine at the back. We also had to be wary of Racing on the counter-attack which we were able to do.

“As we were 13 points behind Real we just had to go out at 100 percent and give our best. Racing are among a group of teams that will fight to the end to avoid relegation and I hope they have a good end to the season.”

Three-man defense

Barça, without the injured Eric Abidal and suspended Gerard Pique, started with a three-man defense which included Carles Puyol who was passed fit. The defending champions quickly began to dominate a struggling Racing side who has not won in eight matches and appointed Alvaro Cervera as the new coach last week.

Cesc Fabregas set up Messi for the opening goal, with the Argentine sliding the ball home from the center of the penalty area.

Barça was knocking the ball effortlessly through the midfield but had to wait until the 56th minute to go further ahead from the penalty spot.

Domingo Cisma was adjudged to have pulled down Fabregas and Messi sent the keeper the wrong way from 12 yards.