LIONEL MESSI beat Pele’s record of 643 goals for a single club this evening, with a typically composed strike against Real Valladolid.
The Argentine had matched the figure on Saturday, during his side’s 2-2 draw with Valencia.
And goal number 644 came in a much-needed 3-0 victory over lowly Valladolid.
With his side already leading 2-0, thanks to first-half efforts from Clement Lenglet and Martin Braithwaite, Messi received a smart backheel from Pedri in the 65th minute.
The 33-year-old took it perfectly into his stride, before slotting an unstoppable left-footed effort beyond the helpless goalkeeper.
Messi achieved the feat in his 749th outing for the Blaugrana.
Pele, however, may privately refute the achievement – having claimed to have scored 1,283 goals during his illustrious career.
But the official records show that only 643 came in ‘official’ matches – although it took just 656 of them for Santos to reach the tally.
On Saturday, when his record was equalled, the Brazilian, 80, posted a heartwarming congratulations to Messi.
He wrote: “When your heart overflows with love, it is difficult to change your path.
“Like you, I know what it’s like to love wearing the same shirt every day. Like you, I know that there is nothing better than the place we feel at home.
“Congratulations on your historic record, Lionel. But above all, congratulations on your beautiful career at Barcelona.
“Stories like ours, of loving the same club for so long, unfortunately will be increasingly rare in football. I admire you very much.”
Messi may not wear that same shirt for too much longer, however, having outlined his intention to leave over the summer.
Presidential hopeful Joan Laporte is desperate to keep the talismanic No10 at Barcelona.
I’m fine today, and I feel like seriously fighting for everything that’s ahead of u
And in an interview with Marca, Messi claimed that he is ‘excited’ by the challenges currently facing the club.
He said: “I’m fine today, and I feel like seriously fighting for everything that’s ahead of us.
“I feel excited. I know that the club is going through a difficult time, at a club and team level.
“And everything around Barcelona is difficult, but I am looking forward to it.”
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are both believed to be waiting in the wings, should Messi decide he still wants to leave Catalonia come next summer.