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Lionel Messi

Messi scores 51st goal of the season

21:31 GMT+4 06/05/2017
Lionel Messi Neymar
The Barcelona attacker has reached over 50 goals in all competitions thanks to his 34th and 35th La Liga strikes of the current campaign

Lionel Messi has become the first player in Europe's top five leagues to score 50 goals this season after netting twice against Villarreal.

The Barcelona attacker scored his side's second just before half-time, taking his La Liga tally to 34 goals for the current campaign.

He subsequently scored from the penalty spot to make it 4-1 in the second half for Barca, taking his tally for the season to 51 goals.

Messi also has 11 goals in the Champions League, one more than Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and is the competition's current top scorer.

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It is the fifth time in the last 10 seasons that the Argentine has surpassed 50 goals in all competitions, having set a personal best in 2011-12 when he netted an astonishing 73 goals in 60 appearances.

Messi's 50th and 51st this season arrives in his 49th game, with four of his goals coming in Barcelona's journey to the Copa del Rey final. Luis Enrique's side take on Alaves in the final on May 27.

As well as his brace, Messi was involved in another landmark during the game, following up Neymar's opener to help the Barcelona frontline of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar topple the 100-goal mark this season.

Neymar, who opened the scoring, has scored 16 times for Barcelona this season, while Suarez - with his latest effort to make it 3-1 at Camp Nou - contributed 35 goals to help the trio reach 102 goals between them.

With just two weeks left in the current La Liga campaign, Barcelona and Real Madrid are battling it out for the title, where Madrid have a game in hand in an extremely tight title race.