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Lionel Messi

Messi makes Barcelona history with 700th appearance

21:53 EAT 26/09/2018
Lionel Messi
The Argentine superstar becomes just the third player to reach the milestone after Xavi and Iniesta

Lionel Messi reached a landmark 700 appearances for Barcelona against Leganes, becoming just the third player to do in the club’s history.

Having just broken the La Liga appearance record for a non-Spanish player against Girona – surpassing his old team-mate Dani Alves – Messi now joins Barca’s prestigious 700-club alongside Xavi and Iniesta.

Messi has accrued a considerable amount of silverware in Catalonia and is the most decorated Barcelona player of all-time, picking up 33 trophies, including nine La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Copas del Rey.

On an individual level, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is also the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and is the only Barcelona player to finish as the league’s top scorer in three separate seasons, amongst a great many other personal accolades.

However, one record the Argentine still has yet to break is Xavi’s appearance record. Messi still has plenty of work left to do on that front, as the midfield maestro made a whopping 869 appearances in his 17-year spell with his boyhood club.

At 31, the forward is showing no signs of slowing down, and is already joint-top scorer of the fledgling LaLiga campaign and the top scorer in the Champions League.

His evolution has been perhaps less stark than that of arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, whose transformation from dynamic winger to goal-poacher involved a drastic change in style, but Messi’s cerebral talents have been honed over the years, making him a superior creative influence now than he was as a precocious young talent.

"Throughout the years, my final pass as improved, I've got better at giving assists," he said in an interview with Catalunya Radio.

There’s no doubt that Messi will continue to chase records, and he will be eyeing up a 400th La Liga goal this season - he currently has 388 - as he cements his reputation at the very top of the game.