BARCELONA, Dec 23: Star striker Lionel Messi has set yet another all-time world record as he has moved past the legendary Pele to become the highest goalscorer ever for a single club.
Messi achieved the feat during Barca's 3-0 win against Valladolid on Tuesday evening.
The Argentine ace has now scored staggering 644 goals, all wearing a Barcelona FC shirt, across 17 seasons and 749 games. That surpasses the 643 goals that Pele scored for Santos, until now the world record and one that few people thought would ever been broken.
"When I started playing football I never thought I would break any records. And even less the one I achieved today," Messi posted on Instagram shortly after the game.
"I can only thank all those who helped me over the years, my teammates, my family, my friends and all those who support me every day," he added.
Pele had earlier congratulated Messi when the latter had equalled his record.
"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," Pele had said in an Instagram post.
"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," he had added.
Pele, who played his last game for Santos in 1974, is counted among one of the greatest players ever to grace the game.
There's another Pele record that Messi has in his sights. The 77 goals that the Brazilian scored for his country are still a South American record. But Messi has 71 for Argentina, and needs just six more to equal that number. - IANS