Lionel Messi has overtaken Xavi Hernandez to become Barcelona’s all-time appearance record holder after featuring- and scoring twice- in the Catalan club’s 6-1 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday night.
The 33-year-old started the match for his 768th Barcelona appearance, one more than Xavi the legendary midfielder and Messi’s former colleague featured before retirement.
Antoine Griezmann, Sergino Dest (brace) and Ousmane Dembele all scored for Barcelona but the night belonged to the player who has shaped the club’s history and identifies with it like no other.
Messi crowned a historical evening by dispatching the fourth and sixth goals in a one-sided affair.
His deft flick after running onto Sergio Busquet’s lobbed pass from deep earned the first while he finished off a team move by converting Jordi Alba’s pass on 89 minutes for his 29th goal in all competitions this season.
The Argentine has already played the most games for Barca in La Liga with 511 games.
He has also featured in 149 Uefa Champions League matches, played 79 Copa Del Rey games and 20 in the Spanish Super Cup.
The Rosario-born 5ft 7in player also known as La Pulga has also played in five Club World Cup and four European Super Cup matches respectively for Barcelona.
Messi, who made his debut for the club in 2004, stands above all Barca players in terms of goals scored with 663 to his name – some 431 clear of second-placed Cesar Rodriguez.
The diminutive forward, arguably the best player of all time, has won 34 trophies in his 21 years since making a senior appearance.
He can still add more this season with Barcelona still in the running for the Spanish La Liga and Copa Del Rey titles.