Barcelona’s game against Granada this weekend was just another fixture in the La Liga schedule. But for Lionel Messi it was seen as the possibility to break yet another milestone in his so far amazing career. The 25-year-old Argentine has spent the last 10 years dazzling us with his skills but its his goal scoring exploits over the past 5 years that have gain the most attention. Going into the match with Granada, Messi sat on 299 goals for Barcelona, but with two superb plays, the little forward scored his 300th and 301st goal for the club, leaving him only 68 goals behind Paulino Alcántara club record 369 goals.
Unless the unlikely happens in the next two years that sees Barcelona selling Messi, he is likely to equal and then exceed Alcántara’s record. Alcántara, to be fair played in a different time than Messi in less glamorous surroundings. Pauline starred for Barcelona between 1918 and 1927, originally as a full back but then restored to his more natural centre forward position after a few months. He thrilled the home crowd at the Camp de Les Corts (Barcelona’s home stadium before they moved to the Nou Camp) and score an amazing 369 goals in 357 games for Barcelona. Spanish striker Alcántara, who was born in the Philippines to a Spanish military officer and an Ilongga mother, only represented Spain 5 times but still managed to score six goals. Upon his retirement aged 31, Alcántara became a doctor but continued to support the club throughout the preceding years, eventually returning as a club director in the early 1930’s. Alcántara died in 1964, aged 67, as a Barcelona and Spanish legend and is still remembered today in the form of a memorial plaque in the Nou Camp.
Messi has huge respect for the achievements of Alcántara and is focused on honouring his memory by remembering his record when he does eventually surpass it. With potentially another seven to ten years left in his career, Messi will go on to become the greatest Barcelona player of all time. His achievement in the game today, which is now played at a greater intensity that ever before with more technological advances in the game than Alcántara could have ever dreamed of, cannot be discounted. Messi has proven time and time again what an amazing player he actually is, not only in the amount of goals he has scored but by his general play and ability to control any game he graces.
Messi still has records he wants to beat and still lacks the crucial piece needed to complete his career – a world cup winners medal with Argentina. He will be hoping that he will get his chance to correct this in Brazil next year but for now it will remain a dream. Messi is focused now on scoring more goals for Barcelona and reaching Alcántara’s record. When he does, he will add yet another great chapter to the history books of Barcelona which already includes one amazing striker already in Alcántara.
To see highlights of some of Messi’s greatest moments, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjaF26OYOps&NR=1&feature=endscreen