600 goals and no end in sight

600 goals and no end in sight

BARCELONA. The great Lionel Messi has been playing with remarkable consistency for FC Barcelona for 14 years.

Lionel Messi scored his 600th competitive goal for FC Barcelona. Image: LLUIS GENE (AFP)

When Lionel Messi prepares to celebrate an anniversary, the 31-year-old unpacks his wand. His 600th competitive goal in the jersey of FC Barcelona happened not only to the day exactly 14 years after his first goal, it was also an absolute masterpiece. When the Argentinian free-kick from about 30 meters, which found the way to the left Kreuzeck on the wall, even the beaten Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp a smile (though tortured) on the lips.

Messi's second strike on this magical evening fixed Catalan's 3-0 win in the Champions League semi-final first leg. "I was lucky, but it was a very nice moment for me," said Messi, who always makes the difference. And in a remarkable constancy. Beginning in 2009/10, the "diamond" from the Barcelona talent company La Masia, which he joined at the age of 14, has cracked the 40-goal mark each season. In the current season Messi holds at 48. So many has no other at this level. Worldwide. Sequel follows.

"I do not know how he does it, but in the end, he always wins, but his presence triggers fear in the opponent," Barça coach Ernesto Valverde did not save praises. Knowing that the first duel with Liverpool could have gone in another direction. The "Reds" were at least equal, if not dominant, for 70 minutes.

Couple running with Cristiano Ronaldo

"Messi comes from another planet," said midfielder Arturo Vidal the alien, the Spanish sports newspaper "As" for "Football Pope". In view of his exploits, the superlatives are slowly starting to go out. Anyway, Messi has great chances to win the Champions League for the fifth time and to catch up with his (felt) everlasting rival Cristiano Ronaldo. As for the goals scored, the two exceptional players stand on one level. "CR7" reached the "600" on Saturday at Juventus's 1-1 draw at Inter Milan.

Anyway, Klopp and his Liverpool team want to fight back at Anfield in the second leg on Tuesday. The FC Barcelona is not invulnerable despite Messi, the "Blaugrana" has lost in the quarter-finals of the "premier class" against AS Roma after a 4-1 home win 0: 3 last year and still play the rise.

Therefore, Messi also rises to the euphoria brake: "There is nothing definite, we play in a very unpleasant stadium," said the superstar, who since the departure of Andrés Iniesta in the summer of 2018 and captain of the team. He not only has a role model effect, but also the role of patron saint.

After the 3-0 win, he stood in front of Philippe Coutinho, the Barça fans had booed in less than an hour. Messi did not like that. "We are in the crucial phase of the season, crowned with three titles, it's not the moment to criticize anyone, we need to be more united than ever before, and that's the only way we'll succeed."

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