Lionel Messi scored his 600th career goal for Barcelona and Argentina during the club’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in Camp Nou on Sunday.
The 30-year-old achieved the feat with a free kick and more importantly, Barca improved their lead to eight points in the La Liga because of the victory.
In just 747 games, Messi now scored 539 for Barca and the 61 is for the Argentina national team. He’s also the all-time leading scorer for the club.
He’s now just five goals away from matching Fernando Peyroteo (Sporting Lisbon) for the most goals scored by a player for a single club. The next stop is Gerd Müller who scored 566 with Bayern Munich. At the top of the heap, however, is football great Pelé who scored 643 for Santos.
While Messi may probably pass Pelé’s record for this category, it’s unlikely that he would touch the Brazilian’s record of 1,281 goals before retiring. Surprisingly, that’s not the highest number in professional football history.
That distinction belonged to Arthur Friedenreich, another Brazilian who scored 1,329 goals between 1909-1935. Friedenreich was the first black football superstar who had to overcome his skin color to become one of the greats.
Atletico manager Diego Simeone acknowledged the huge shot that Messi made during the free kick to win the game.
“If Messi had been wearing an Atlético shirt, we would have won,” he said. “It was an even match. I don’t think we lacked application in the first half. However, we did not see our best until the second half.”
Simeone also admitted that they have no answer for Barca and Real Madrid, which have been dominating the league for countless years.
Meanwhile, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said Messi is a unique player. “There’s no one like him in the world,” he said. “I don’t know what would have happened [if he’d been on the other team] nor do I want to imagine it.”