After missing the opportunity to score his 400th goal in a disappointing 0-0 away match to Malaga last week, FC Barcelona star, Lionel Messi, reached a new milestone in his career surpassing the 400 mark on Saturday, as he scored a brace against lowly Granada notching his 400th and 401st goals, respectively. In the 2011/2012 season, Messi broke Gerd Muller’s long standing record, scoring a total of 91 goals in a calendar year. Despite not winning the World Cup with Argentina, Messi is still considered one of the all time greats in world soccer.
The Catalan side emerged 6-0 victors in Saturday’s rout of Granada in front of a mammoth crowd at the Camp Nou. Brazilian wonder boy, Neymar, scored a hat trick in that match to add to Barcelona’s comprehensive victory.
Born in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina, in 1987, Messi played for Newell Old Boys youth system as a little boy before he was brought to Barcelona’s world famous youth academy, La Masia in 2000 at the age of 13. After playing for Barcelona’s youth system for several years, he made his debut for the senior team at age 17 in October of 2004.
Messi has won a record 21 titles with Barcelona including multiple Champions League titles, La Liga, the Copa Del Rey, Spanish and European Super Cups and a FIFA World Club Championship. Despite his impressive club record, Messi has failed to win any major titles with Argentina at the senior level, missing out in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, as well as the 2007 and 2011 Copa America. His few successes for his country came largely at the Junior level, having won the 2005 FIFA Under – 20 title and the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal with the Argentine Olympic team.
Last July, Messi came as close as ever to winning the World Cup for the first time, guiding his team to the final only to lose narrowly 1-0 to German,y conceding their opponents’ title-winning goal with only seven minutes left in the extra time period. Although Messi and his teammates lost to an excellent German side, the World Cup loss was a devastating blow to the Argentines, as a lot was expected from their impressive team that was considered among the pre-tournament title favourites.
Apart from team honours, Messi has also won numerous personal accolades being named the Ballon D’or (World Player of the Year) winner for an unprecedented four consecutive times after beating out his challengers in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The prestigious Ballon D’or is an award that goes to the World’s best player in every calendar year. During the 2014 World Cup, Messi won the Golden Ball, a title that goes to the best player in the tournament.
Failure by the Barca playmaker to win the World Cup means that Messi still lives in the shadows of his compatriot, the legendary Diego Maradona, who guided Argentina to World Cup glory in the 1986 World Cup. Messi probably has one more chance to win the World Cup when Russia hosts the showpiece in 2018. Given that he would be 31 come 2018, it could be a tall order for the Argentine, although anything is possible from one of the world’s best.