Earlier this evening Lionel Messi became the seventh member of football’s 700-Goal Club!
His Panenka dinked penalty past Atletico’s Jan Oblak after a dubious award in favour of Nelson Semedo gave Messi his 630th goal for Barcelona, adding to 70 plundered with Argentina.
He’s the seventh player in history to reach the milestone, the previous being his now traditional adversary, Cristiano Ronaldo who sits currently on 728 and who breached the 700-barrier in October last year.
But who are the others?
First we must address the claims of Pele and Josef Bican, both of whom have unofficial claims to over 1,000 goals, but these figures have not been ratified nor made official since, of each man’s 4-figure tally, many goals were scored in friendlies.
So in actual fact the top man is Josef Bican, but with a total of 805 official goals. Almost half of those came in club football with Sparta Prague in a career that straddled each side of World War 2.
Bican also played and scored for three different countries in international football; Austria, Czechoslovakia and Bohemia & Morovia.
Second on the list is the prolific Brazilian Romario with 772 goals, just five ahead of the great Pele on 767.
The Galloping Major, Ferenc Puskas, a serial European Cup winner with Real Madrid and captain of Hungary’s losing World Cup finalists in 1954 is in the fourth slot on 746.
The great Gerd Muller of Bayern Munich and West Germany, also a serial European Cup winner is fifth on the list on 735 goals, only 7 ahead of Ronaldo.
With 630 goals in 724 matches for Barcelona, Messi’s amazing consistency yields a strike rate of almost a goal a game. Quite incredible really. Especially when you consider he’s not an out and out striker!
Messi’s numbers are astounding. Not only did he reach 700 goals in 111 games less than it took Cristiano Ronaldo, but he's scored over 40 goals in a calendar year in each of the last 11 years. In 2012, he struck a mammoth 91 goals for club and country.
The Argentinian has hit century milestones every two years since scoring his 300th goal v Rayo Vallecano in 2012. Goal number 400 came in 2014 against Granada, 500 in 2016 against Valencia and 600 in 2018 vs. Atletico Madrid.
If Messi is still performing at this rate by 2022, when he’ll be 34, then Bican’s official record could be under threat. Ronaldo by then will be 35, and of course he’s still active and chasing the record as well.