Barcelona’s Lionel Messi became the UEFA Champions League’s all-time top scorer with a hat-trick against Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday night. Messi scored his 72nd, 73rd and 74th goals of the competition. Barcelona went on to win the game 4-0.
Messi went into the game with level on 71 goals with former Real Madrid forward Raul. Raul scored 71 goals in 142 Champions League matches for Real Madrid and Schalke. It was Messi’s 91st match in Europe’s top club competition. It was the second record for Messi this week after breaking Telmo Zarra’s all-time La Liga scoring record on Saturday night.
Raul’s record broke when Messi struck his first in the 38th minute to give Barcelona a 2-0 lead after Luis Suarez had opened the scoring. Messi struck again in the 58th and 87th minute of the Group F match completing his 28th Barcelona hat trick and his fifth in the Champions League.
Messi’s first Champions League strike arrived against Panathinaikos in 2005. He has won the competition three times (2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11).
Messi said after the game “I am happy for having achieved such a nice record in a competition of this importance. But the really relevant thing is that we took the three points and Barcelona played a great match.”
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said “Messi is the best player of all time … a player who will continue to surprise us for a long time to come”.
Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has praised Lionel Messi, saying “He is only 27 years old and he has already beaten the record.. His record will not last for 60 years, but 600 years.I hope that Messi will end his career with Barcelona because he has given so much to the club and he loves the club.”
Cristiano Ronaldo is now third in the list with 70 goals. Ronaldo is four behind his rival ahead of Madrid’s game against Basel away on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi hat-trick (all goals) vs APOEL
Picture Courtesy: FC Barcelona