The six-time Ballon d’Or winner set yet another new record at Camp Nou after lining up for Ronald Koeman’s side in La Liga at the weekend
Lionel Messi marked his latest Barcelona milestone with a goal against Cadiz as he surpassed club legend Xavi in the Camp Nou history books, but the Argentine was left frustrated by a late equaliser.
Messi fired in a 32nd-minute penalty to give Barca the lead in the home fixture against Cadiz on Sunday – converting calmly from 12 yards after Pedri was fouled in the box.
Cadiz scored a late penalty of their own through Alex Fernandez to earn a 1-1 draw, but Messi’s 21st goal of the season still capped a history-making occasion that saw him move ahead of Xavi as the player with the most La Liga appearances in the history of the club.
Messi’s ever-expanding legacy at Barca
Messi has now appeared in 506 games in the Spanish top flight for the Blaugrana, one more than Xavi, who left Camp Nou back in 2015.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is also now closing in on his former team-mate’s all-time mark across all competitions of 767, with his latest outing against Cadiz taking him up to a grand total of 761.
Messi will almost certainly move ahead of Xavi before the season reaches its conclusion, which will only serve to cement his standing as Barca’s greatest ever player.
The 33-year-old is already the club’s all-time scorer with 654 goals to his name, and he has also won more trophies than any other player to have ever been on the books at Camp Nou (34).
Will Messi finish his career at Camp Nou?
Messi began his career at Barca way back in 2005, and has remained loyal to the club ever since despite attracting attention from just about every top club in Europe.
However, the Argentina international’s resolve has been tested in recent seasons amid the team’s inconsistent form, with an 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League proving to be the final straw.
Messi handed in a transfer request after that result, and although he ended up staying put for another season amid pressure from Barca and La Liga officials, his future remains very much up in the air.
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have been touted as possible next destinations for the Blaugrana captain, but he could also still decide to extend his stay at Camp Nou.
Messi’s contract is due to expire at the end of June, and he has publicly insisted he won’t make a final decision on his next move until the season ends.
Messi will be back in action with Barca when they play host to Elche on Wednesday night, where he will be aiming to score in La Liga for a seventh successive game.
Barca will then turn their attention to a trip to Sevilla three days later, which they must win to keep their faint hopes of winning the title alive.