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Messi surpasses Dani Alves to set new La Liga record

4:04 AM MYT 24/09/2018
Lionel Messi
The right-back's tally of 422 appearances has now been overtaken, and the Argentine has racked up 387 goals and 166 assists in his La Liga career

Lionel Messi has broken the record for the most appearances in La Liga by a non-Spanish player.

Messi made his 423rd La Liga appearance when he was named in the Barcelona team for Sunday's home game against Girona, and scored the opening goal in the game.

The Argentina international overtakes a former Barcelona team-mate, Dani Alves, who previously occupied the record with 422 outings.

The striker has scored more than 380 goals and picked up over 160 assists during his 14-year La Liga career and has won the division nine times, a club record he shares with Andres Iniesta.

Messi is in a rich vein of form since taking the Barca captaincy, scoring a hat-trick in the 4-0 Champions League defeat of PSV last time out.

The 31-year-old also has four goals and two assists in five league matches so far this term, ensuring his club lead the Spanish top flight with a 100 per cent record as they look to defend their title.

Despite that impressive start to the campaign, Messi was not named as a finalist for FIFA's The Best Men's Player award, being snubbed in favour of Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.

Some critics pointed to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's underwhelming performance at the World Cup as the reason he was omitted.

Argentina crashed out in the round of 16 to eventual winners France in a 4-3 thriller, failing to end their 25-year wait for a major trophy.

Messi will be hoping to prove that he is still among the world's best this year by leading the Catalan club to their first Champions League win since 2015.